Ken Regan: Scoping the Mind with Turing’s Chess Machine

Speaker: Kenneth W. Regan, University at Buffalo (SUNY)
Title: Scoping the Mind with Turing’s Chess Machine
Time: Tuesday 11th of September, 18:00.
Place: Teglverket, Kvarteret. Hosted by Upop, Studentersamfunnet.

Alan Turing’s dream of a champion chess machine aimed to reveal computational intelligence by simulating a signature activity of the human mind. Yet when losses by Garry Kasparov and other human champions were ascribed more to processors and speed than simulated thought, chess no longer seemed the “Drosophila of AI”. We regain Turing’s objectives by turning the machine onto its inventor, using computer analysis of human games to reveal patterns of human minds. Statistical analysis of tens of millions of pages of data argues these as mental laws:

  1. Humans judge moves not by difference in raw value as computers do, but in proportion to the
    overall advantage in the position.
  2. Skill as measured by Elo rating is simply linearly related to average error per move—depth
    of strategy and planning may be secondary.
  3. Procrastination and future-blind tendencies causing error are the same scross skill levels.
  4. Human skill has improved in similar manner to Olympic sports, contrary to widespread belief of “inflation” in chess ratings.
  5. Variation in performance obeys statistical laws at move level not just game level.
  6. Computers can catch humans cheating with (other) computers.

The talk will include lessons from work on cheating cases since 2006, issues in objective
skill assessment, and potential applications beyond chess. Some work is joint with Guy Haworth
and Giuseppe DiFatta (Univ. or Reading, UK) and Grandmaster Bartlomiej Macieja (Warsaw, Poland).

On the other side of the table Simen Agdestein is sitting, our own international grand master and football player.