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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How chess gives clues to superiority of group intelligence (by humans)!

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

All that debate about computers and aliens makes you wonder where we humans are really headed. Here's an interesting blog entry by Forbes staffer Alex Knapps.
It's about how we are yet to utilise the full potential of harnessing group intelligence particularly in reference to the Internet. He writes: 

"Why is mass online collaboration useful in solving mathematical problems? Part of the answer is that even the best mathematicians can learn a great deal from people with complementary knowledge, and be stimulated to consider ideas in directions they wouldn’t have considered on their own. Online tools create a shared space where this can happen, a short-term collective working memory where ideas can be rapidly improved by many minds. These tools enable us to scale up creative conversation, so connections that would ordinarily require fortuitous serendipity instead happen as a matter of course. This speeds up the problem-solving process, and expands the range of problems that can be solved by the human mind."

The chess connection

Let me give you one of my favorite examples of this, and that’s in the world of Advanced Chess. Advanced Chess is the baby of Garry Kasparov, in which chess is played between human-computer teams. The human players use their chess programs to plan their moves, which enables them to focus on overall strategy while the humans focus on tactics. What’s interesting, though, as Kasparov himself noted, is that at an Advanced Chess matchup that several Grandmasters participated in, none of them won:

The winner was revealed to be not a grandmaster with a state-of-the-art PC but a pair of amateur American chess players using three computers at the same time. Their skill at manipulating and “coaching” their computers to look very deeply into positions effectively counteracted the superior chess understanding of their grandmaster opponents and the greater computational power of other participants. 

That’s the power of group intelligence – two heads are better than one, especially when they harness more than one computer.
Now picture this on a grand scale – not geared towards just solving chess problems, but solving major problems. With improving computers and an ever-growing internet, there’s plenty of space for good feedback, argumentation, and collaboration. Not just in terms of writing and debate, but in action. As long as we embrace that action and openness, and avoid turning back to the walled gardens of closed systems and further specialization, I believe that we can find ourselves in a new Renaissance. Not just in the United States or Western culture, but worldwide. All cultures together, one human society, connected online, working together. Yes, despite the economy. Yes, despite the environment. Yes, despite all of the other myriad problems we face.

That’s because we have at our disposal the greatest tool for problem solving in history – human minds that can collaborate with each other no matter where they are located.

We haven’t come close to reaching our potential."

This was an excerpted part, you can read the full article at this link.
From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
Also see her personal blog at

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