The history of man versus machine clashes
The eternal battle of silicon and carbon
By Michael Cooney | Network World US | Published: 14:40, 16 February 2011
Maybe it was something in the water, because University of Alberta's Schaeffer and many others also developed a checkers playing program that the university ultimately retired because it was unbeatable. According to the university's website, the Chinook project began in 1989 with the goal of developing a program capable of defeating the human World Checkers Champion.
In 1990, Chinook became the first program in any game to win the right to play for a human world championship. The program lost the championship match in 1992, but became champion in 1994. By 1996, it became clear that the program was much stronger than any human, and Chinook was retired. Chinook won the World Man-Machine Championship (three years before the Deep Blue chess match) and in 1996 the Guinness Book of World Records recognised Chinook as the first program to win a human world championship, the university stated.
According to Backgammon.net, a programmer by the name of Hans Berliner developed a backgammon program known as BKG that beat then world champion Luigi Villa. It won the match, 7-1, becoming the first computer program to defeat a world champion in any game, although this was mostly a matter of luck, as the computer happened to get better dice rolls than its opponent did in that match.
According to the website, in the 1980s creators of backgammon-playing software began to have even more success with a neural network approach. TD-Gammon, developed by Gerald Tesauro of IBM, was the first of these computer programs to play at or close to the expert level. This program's neural network was trained using Temporal Difference learning applied to data generated from self-play.
"This line of research has resulted in two modern commercial programs, Jellyfish and Snowie, the shareware BGBlitz, and the free software GNU Backgammon, that play on a par with the best human backgammon players in the world. It is worth noting that without their associated 'weights' tables, which represent hours or even months of tedious neural net training, these programs play no better than a human child would."
I can't let you do that, really
It would be tough to find a more infamous computer than HAL 9000 of "2001: A Space Odyssey." The soft-spoken, ill-willed computer was in fact named the 13th greatest film villain by the American Film Institute, beating out another more in-your-face computer villain, the T-800 in the "Terminator" film.
From the Carnegie Mellon Robot Hall of Fame entry: "HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) is capable of speech recognition, natural language understanding, lip reading and thinking well enough to beat humans at chess. Along with all these capabilities comes the capacity for malevolence. HAL kills its astronaut crew. The audience is left wondering whether HAL is right, wrong, evil or mad. An astronaut decides to shut down HAL 9000's higher cognitive functions, an experience equivalent to death for HAL. HAL's central core is depicted as a room full of brightly lit computer modules mounted in arrays from which they can be inserted or removed. As the astronaut removes the modules, HAL's intelligence degrades."
"HAL has had a lasting effect not only on fiction, but also on the real world. It has inspired astronauts, scientists and philosophers. Scientists ask how its capabilities can be duplicated and philosophers have asked whether HAL was responsible for the murders of the astronauts. All of us ask whether we want to create intelligent machines that may someday endanger us."
I'll be back, again and again
Now that his human side has been released from the California governorship, it is possible we may see Arnold Schwarzenegger playing the almighty T-800 Terminator.
From the IMDB website: "The Terminator, specifically the T-800 Series Model 101, is a cybernetic organism sent back in time from a post-apocalyptic future in an effort to carry out its mission of either protection or assassination. It is living tissue such as skin, hair, eyes and fingernails growing over a seemingly indestructible metal that acts as a skeleton and CPU."
"In times of extreme combat the metal skeleton can be seen where patches of skin have been destroyed. The T-800 has been sent back from a future where machines became artificially intelligent. A program of AI was developed by Cyberdine systems, and was incorporated into a United States military program known as Skynet."
Do you want to play a game?
The War Operation Plan Response (WOPR) computer from the film "Wargames" was really the opposite of HAL. Really all WOPR wanted was to saddle up next to you and play games. It was the humans who misinterpreted his intentions to start a war (or was it?).
According to its Wikipedia entry: "The WOPR computer as seen in the film was a prop created in Culver City, California, by members of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees Local 44. It was designed by production designer Geoffrey Kirkland based on some pictures he had of early tabulating machines, and metal furniture, consoles and cabinets used particularly in the US military in the 1940s and 50s."