This week the New Yorker has a profile of Magnus Carlsen, a young Norwegian chess player that is currently the #2 ranked player in the world (he has been #1 in the past).

The article discusses how the game has been changed by the availability of computer programs that are now unbeatable even by the top players, and the fact that the younger generation of players (but not Carlsen) grew up playing against computer programs. The following quote was interesting:

Computers have no skills and they have nothing approaching intuition. Carlsen finds their games inelegant, and complains about “weird computer moves I can’t understand,” whereas in talking about his own game he speaks of achieving “harmony” among the pieces on the chessboard, and even of “poetry.”

It struck me that we could see in our lifetime computer programs becoming better than human mathematicians in raw technical skills, and that the above quote could reflect our future attitude toward proofs found by computers. “Where is the statement of this lemma coming from?”, “this argument has no elegance!”, and so on.

About these ads