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The next move

Amid the uproar over Garry Kasparov's defeat by Deep Blue, we forgot one thing. It is not the machines which are brilliant, but the human beings who make them

By Oliver Morton   July 1997

It was a triumph, not of science, but of superstition. That is what we usually call it when people take a physical process devoid of intention, emotion, or agency and fill the dark shadows with loosely plausible imaginings. The spectacular defeat of Garry Kasparov brought on an effusion of these projections. An RS/6000 computer with a catchy name (Deep Blue), an effective programme and a solicitous entourage was loaded down with “brilliance,” “seeing the end,” and “playing like a god,” despite the fact that it no more deserves these human attributes than a storm cloud or a chainsaw. Indeed, it…

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