Garry Kasparov dominated chess until he was beaten by an IBM supercomputer called Deep Blue in 1997. The event made “man loses to computer” headlines the world over. Kasparov recently returned to the ballroom of the New York hotel where he was defeated for a debate with AI experts. Wired’s Will Knight was there for a revealing interview with perhaps the greatest human chess player the world has ever known.
”I was the first knowledge worker whose job was threatened by a machine,” says Kasparov, something he foresees coming for us all.
”Every technology destroys jobs before creating jobs. When you look at the statistics, only 4 percent of jobs in the US require human creativity. That means 96 percent of jobs, I call them zombie jobs. They’re dead, they just don’t know it. For several decades we have been training people to act like computers, and now we are complaining that these jobs are in danger. Of course they are.”
Experts say only about 14 percent of US jobs are at risk of replacement by AI and robots. Nevertheless, Kasparov has some advice for us zombies looking to re-skill.
”There are different machines, and it is the role of a human and understand exactly what this machine will need to do its best. ... I describe the human role as being shepherds.”
Kasparov, for example, helps Alphabet’s DeepMind division understand potential weaknesses with AlphaZero’s chess play.
The interview also yielded this gem of a quote from Kasparov:
”People say, oh, we need to make ethical AI. What nonsense. Humans still have the monopoly on evil. The problem is not AI. The problem is humans using new technologies to harm other humans.”
It’s a fascinating read and one that should be done in its entirety, if only to find out why Kasparov thinks AI is making chess more interesting, even though humanity doesn’t stand a chance of beating it.