Thursday, May 26, 2005



An all-to-familiar item showed up in my blog in tray today. Londonist blogged:
There is something really beguiling about human Vs computer chess matches.

Despite the main elements being a bloke who plays chess and a very complicated bit of software, these kind of matchups somehow transcend simple geekiness.

Maybe we feel there's something lurking in these tournaments that holds the key to the future of the human consciousness: a profound kernel of truth that will maybe give us some clue to what lies at the end of that mysterious road marked 'Evolution'.

Well, and maybe not.

I'm often described as an "AI guy". But I actually hate the term artificial intelligence. It's largely indicative of the misplaced idea that rationale is the most unique and prized quality of man. Rubbish.

Chess program AI misses the point of the pursuit which most so-called AI guys are following. Dolphins, bee hives, and your slow-witted Uncle Jeeter don't play chess, yet they most certainly have the ephemeral quality that we deeply desire for our artificial creations.

In my opinion, that quality is about relationships and social context. I think Peirce and Searle, each in their own way, would agree.

I think that as our machines begin to show a familiar, yet perpetually novel complexity of interaction in our social context, they may begin to have the quality that most AI guys are really looking for.

I have no good ideas for alternate acronyms, though. Artificial friends and neighbors, perhaps?

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