This story begins in 1985,
when at age 22,
I became the World Chess Champion
after beating Anatoly Karpov.
Earlier that year,
I played what is called
against 32 of the world's
best chess-playing machines
in Hamburg, Germany.
I won all the games,
and then it was not considered
much of a surprise
that I could beat 32 computers
at the same time.
To me, that was the golden age.
Machines were weak,
and my hair was strong.
Just 12 years later,
I was fighting for my life
against just one computer
in a match
called by the cover of "Newsweek"
"The Brain's Last Stand."
From mythology to science fiction,
human versus machine
has been often portrayed
as a matter of life and death.
called the steel-driving man
in the 19th century
African American folk legend,
was pitted in a race
against a steam-powered hammer
bashing a tunnel through mountain rock.
John Henry's legend
is a part of a long historical narrative
pitting humanity versus technology.
And this competitive rhetoric
is standard now.
We are in a race against the machines,
in a fight or even in a war.
Jobs are being killed off.
People are being replaced
as if they had vanished from the Earth.
It's enough to think that the movies
like "The Terminator" or "The Matrix"
There are very few instances of an arena
where the human body and mind
can compete on equal terms
with a computer or a robot.
Actually, I wish there were a few more.
it was my blessing and my curse
to literally become the proverbial man
in the man versus machine competition
that everybody is still talking about.
In the most famous human-machine
competition since John Henry,
I played two matches
against the IBM supercomputer, Deep Blue.
that I won the first match --
In Philadelphia, before losing the rematch
the following year in New York.
But I guess that's fair.
There is no day in history,
special calendar entry
for all the people
who failed to climb Mt. Everest
before Sir Edmund Hillary
and Tenzing Norgay
made it to the top.
And in 1997, I was still
the world champion
when chess computers finally came of age.
I was Mt. Everest,
and Deep Blue reached the summit.
I should say of course,
not that Deep Blue did it,
but its human creators --
Anantharaman, Campbell, Hoane, Hsu.
Hats off to them.
As always, machine's triumph
was a human triumph,
something we tend to forget when humans
are surpassed by our own creations.
Deep Blue was victorious,
but was it intelligent?
No, no it wasn't,
at least not in the way Alan Turing
and other founders of computer science
It turned out that chess
could be crunched by brute force,
once hardware got fast enough
and algorithms got smart enough.
Although by the definition of the output,
Deep Blue was intelligent.
But even at the incredible speed,
200 million positions per second,
Deep Blue's method
provided little of the dreamed-of insight
into the mysteries of human intelligence.
machines will be taxi drivers
and doctors and professors,
but will they be "intelligent?"
I would rather leave these definitions
to the philosophers and to the dictionary.
What really matters is how we humans
feel about living and working
with these machines.
When I first met Deep Blue
in 1996 in February,
I had been the world champion
for more than 10 years,
and I had played 182
world championship games
and hundreds of games against
other top players in other competitions.
I knew what to expect from my opponents
and what to expect from myself.
I was used to measure their moves
and to gauge their emotional state
by watching their body language
and looking into their eyes.
And then I sat across
the chessboard from Deep Blue.
I immediately sensed something new,
You might experience a similar feeling
the first time you ride
in a driverless car
or the first time your new computer
manager issues an order at work.
But when I sat at that first game,
I couldn't be sure
what is this thing capable of.
Technology can advance in leaps,
and IBM had invested heavily.
I lost that game.
And I couldn't help wondering,
might it be invincible?
Was my beloved game of chess over?
These were human doubts, human fears,
and the only thing I knew for sure
was that my opponent Deep Blue
had no such worries at all.
I fought back
after this devastating blow
to win the first match,
but the writing was on the wall.
I eventually lost to the machine
but I didn't suffer the fate of John Henry
who won but died
with his hammer in his hand.
[John Henry Died with a Hammer in His Hand
Palmer C. Hayden]
[The Museum of African
American Art, Los Angeles]
It turned out that the world of chess
still wanted to have
a human chess champion.
And even today,
when a free chess app
on the latest mobile phone
is stronger than Deep Blue,
people are still playing chess,
even more than ever before.
that nobody would touch the game
that could be conquered by the machine,
and they were wrong, proven wrong,
but doomsaying has always been
a popular pastime
when it comes to technology.
What I learned from my own experience
is that we must face our fears
if we want to get the most
out of our technology,
and we must conquer those fears
if we want to get the best
out of our humanity.
While licking my wounds,
I got a lot of inspiration
from my battles against Deep Blue.
As the old Russian saying goes,
if you can't beat them, join them.
Then I thought,
what if I could play with a computer --
together with a computer at my side,
combining our strengths,
plus machine's calculation,
human strategy, machine tactics,
human experience, machine's memory.
Could it be the perfect game ever played?
My idea came to life
in 1998 under the name of Advanced Chess
when I played this human-plus-machine
competition against another elite player.
But in this first experiment,
we both failed to combine
human and machine skills effectively.
Advanced Chess found
its home on the internet,
and in 2005, a so-called
freestyle chess tournament
produced a revelation.
A team of grandmasters
and top machines participated,
but the winners were not grandmasters,
not a supercomputer.
The winners were a pair
of amateur American chess players
operating three ordinary PCs
at the same time.
Their skill of coaching their machines
the superior chess knowledge
of their grandmaster opponents
and much greater
computational power of others.
And I reached this formulation.
A weak human player plus a machine
plus a better process is superior
to a very powerful machine alone,
but more remarkably,
is superior to a strong human player
and an inferior process.
This convinced me that we would need
to help us coach our machines
towards more useful intelligence.
Human plus machine isn't the future,
it's the present.
Everybody that's used online translation
to get the gist of a news article
from a foreign newspaper,
knowing its far from perfect.
Then we use our human experience
to make sense out of that,
and then the machine
learns from our corrections.
This model is spreading and investing
in medical diagnosis, security analysis.
The machine crunches data,
gets 80 percent of the way, 90 percent,
making it easier for analysis
and decision-making of the human party.
But you are not going to send your kids
to school in a self-driving car
with 90 percent accuracy,
even with 99 percent.
So we need a leap forward
to add a few more crucial decimal places.
Twenty years after
my match with Deep Blue,
"The Brain's Last Stand" headline
has become commonplace
as intelligent machines
in every sector, seemingly every day.
But unlike in the past,
when machines replaced
farm animals, manual labor,
now they are coming
after people with college degrees
and political influence.
And as someone
who fought machines and lost,
I am here to tell you
this is excellent, excellent news.
Eventually, every profession
will have to feel these pressures
or else it will mean humanity
has ceased to make progress.
get to choose
when and where
technological progress stops.
we have to speed up.
Our technology excels at removing
difficulties and uncertainties
from our lives,
and so we must seek out
ever more difficult,
ever more uncertain challenges.
We have understanding.
Machines have instructions.
We have purpose.
We have passion.
We should not worry
about what our machines can do today.
Instead, we should worry
about what they still cannot do today,
because we will need the help
of the new, intelligent machines
to turn our grandest dreams into reality.
And if we fail,
if we fail, it's not because our machines
are too intelligent,
or not intelligent enough.
If we fail, it's because
we grew complacent
and limited our ambitions.
Our humanity is not defined by any skill,
like swinging a hammer
or even playing chess.
There's one thing only a human can do.
So let us dream big.