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Mixing Natural and Artificial Intelligence to make us smarter

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Yesterday I was talking about whether we should make human beings smarter, or should we make improvements to Artificial Intelligence.

I think we should work on both because there are more than enough problems to go around that will take both kinds of intelligence to solve.

In his book, The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future, Kevin Kelly talks about human chess masters facing off against computer programs specifically built to play chess. Perhaps inevitably, Gary Kasparov was beaten by Deep Blue in 1997.

Since then, chess players have worked hard to hone their skills to become better players. The computers, on the other hand, don’t really need to up their game. They’ve played so many games of chess, and have the data of the great chess games played between Grand Chess Masters, that they can give a human player a run for their money any time.

He brings up a very interesting point in the book. Computers can look at thousands of various moves in a game, and pick out the best one, each and every turn. A Grand Master at chess has to look several moves ahead, but they can’t do it with the thousands of possible moves each and every turn.

Now, human players are training with chess programs. The computer can show them the three best next moves, then the human player makes a choice between them, based on their own strategy and tactics for the game. Kelly calls these people ‘centaurs’. And apparently the players who train this way are doing better than other players who train in traditional ways for chess.

It seems to me that if we can find other areas where a similar style of training could be applied we would start making great strides in solving many of the problems on this planet. I find this an exciting possibility in education.

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