Those of us somewhat interested in chess, or perhaps curious thanks to blockbuster shows like The Queen’s Gambit, have been following the chaos in the world of grandmaster-level chess, particularly the feud between world champions Magnus Carlsen and Hans Niemann. Chess is one of the few competitions where even at the highest levels there are relatively few serious efforts to prevent cheating, even with incidents like Arcangelo Ricciardi receiving morse code signals in his armpit in 2015. That may soon change.
An article in The Washington Post earlier this week discussed the Carlsen-Niemann situation, but from an interesting perspective of the impact of technology on problem-solving. As an aside, it also described the surprisingly high level of physical exertion resulting from the concentration required by chess. During a tournament in 2018, sensors connected to grandmaster Mikhail Antipov revealed he burned 560 calories in two hours, sitting completely still.
The description of using AI for potential cheating is interesting , but the impact of using technology to supplement or even replace thinking is important.
“The Carlsen-Niemann confrontation raises the important matter of “techno-solutionism.” Too much machine intelligence in problem-solving, as it happens, can be more confusing — and weakening — than helpful. The long-term cost of techno-solutionism can be a fatal slackness, both mental and physical. You don’t want to lose your conditioning for decisive human judgment.”
In the article this “techno-solutionism” takes two forms. By using AI and computers, there is less of the learning rigor that traditional chess players go through by playing thousands of games. This also decreases the strength and endurance for what is, although it appears to have little movement, a very physical event. Magnus Carlsen has a very intensely physical daily workout regimen to prepare himself for tournaments with almost no physical movement.
In the lean world we often talk about the problems with technology. Technology itself is not necessarily negative, but it needs to be used appropriately and at the right time.
Read the rest of this post at the Gemba Academy blog.