By Evan Ackerman
I was really good at chess in third grade, but I’ve gotten much much dumber since then. Dumb enough to get beaten by a table. It’s especially humiliating when I get beaten by the Thinking Machine chess program, since you can see the AI in operation. As the computer thinks through various moves, it sketches them out in colored lines on the board (its moves are in orange; what it thinks you’re going to do shows up as green). Click here to give the program a try.
If the viewer confronts the program, the computer’s thought process is sketched on screen as it plays. A map is created from the traces of literally thousands of possible futures as the program tries to decide its best move. Those traces become a key to the invisible lines of force in the game as well as a window into the spirit of a thinking machine.
That’s great, it really is… But could you make it think a little less? Please? For my self esteem?