Machines can think. Machines can learn. Machines can adapt. They make emotionless decisions, but they are decisions nevertheless. They can read, talk, calculate, and understand. Machines solve problems and occasionally create some. But most importantly, they can develop human-like characteristics, thanks to deep learning, data mining, pattern recognition, and more. The purpose of technology is slightly changing now. Computers move away from conventional uses that simplify everyday activities or business processes to reach more complex operational levels. They are becoming more intuitive than ever before. We have reached a phase in our technological evolution in which people have existentialist conversations with Cleverbot and applications like Siri. And as if that’s not enough, 21st-century science has advanced so much that artificial intelligence (AI) is now challenging and beating biological intelligence in different games and face-to-face situations.
In our third part of the “Humans vs Computers” series of posts, including Humans vs Computers: Similarities Loading Now Part I and Humans vs Computers: Differences Loading Now Part II, this article outlines several remarkable times when computers turned out to be “byte” smarter than human beings.
A world chess champion vs a chess computer
This is perhaps one of the most frequently given examples of how a machine managed to defeat a human being in a game. Back in 1996, IBM’s Deep Blue chess-playing computer faced the world leading chess player – Garry Gasparov. Even though it defeated Kasparov in game one of a six-game match, the supercomputer lost in the end. After major upgrades, Deep Blue and Kasparov faced each other once again on May 11, 1997. And that became the point when a computer program won a match against a reigning world chess champion. But the victory of IBM’s supercomputer had a rather symbolic meaning – that of machine intelligence being comparable to human intelligence in logical capabilities.
Elementary, my dear Watson
Another example of how computers outsmart people is when IBM’s other supercomputer, Watson, competed and won on the quiz show Jeopardy! Over a decade ago in 2011, Watson competed against Brad Rutter, a 20-time winner and contestant on the U.S. quiz show, and Ken Jennings, the second-highest-earning player with 74 wins. Impressing contestants and the audience with its incredible encyclopedic knowledge, linguistic capabilities, and analytical thinking, Watson found the right answers to beat the champions and thus, scooped the first-place award of $1 million.
Big data analysis system outperforms humans… big time
Using numerical indicators, a system developed at MIT showcased its ability to better track correlations in data point relationships at rates faster than humans. The machine called The Data Science Machine, participated in three data science competitions and outperformed 615 out of 906 human teams that also took part in the test. The AI system refined its algorithms and calculations within a timeframe ranging from 2 to 12 hours, a stark contrast to the several months taken by its human counterparts. This achievement highlights the efficiency and agility of artificial intelligence in handling complex data analysis tasks.
A computer that can play Atari better than us?
In February 2015, the world witnessed a computer that knows how to play with, well… other computers. Or at least classic arcade games. Developed by Google, the DeepMind system represents a neural network AI that uses deep learning to gather and retain information. That method helped the machine understand how Atari games’ patterns work. After learning how to win on its own, the system played 29 different Atari games and showed how it could beat humans in all other games that it competed in.
Alphago – the breakthrough of 2016?
In 2016, a significant clash occurred between humanity and artificial intelligence. Google’s AlphaGo, developed by DeepMind, boldly challenged the esteemed 18-time world Go champion, Lee Sedol—and emerged victorious! Go is a classic abstract strategy game where two players, utilizing stones as game pieces, vie to encircle more territory than their opponent. In March 2016, Google pitted its AlphaGo DeepMind program against Sedol in a five-game match. Despite prevailing skepticism about the system’s chances against a top player, AlphaGo triumphed in four out of five games, underscoring that AI continues to pose challenges to human mastery.
While it is still too early to talk about superior artificial artificial intelligence and definite robot overloads, we cannot deny the fact that this far-off idea is very likely to become a reality someday in the future. Unlike chess, integrating such machines into more everyday world processes is a real danger only a few people seem to understand. With such advances in computer science and software development, it is just a matter of time before we see intelligent machines raising more questions about the power of tech, business values, and societal changes.
For now, though, people still have the dominating power and we will prove this in the next article of our “Humans vs Computer” series. All in all, we created computers in the first place, but the human mind should consider that if we’re not careful they could beat us at our own game.