Power of focus
In the article “Artificial intelligence takes over fiction writing too“, I have written already how in May 1997, Kasparov played against Deep Blue and lost the first time. There are still controversy and several conspiracy theories that “explain” such an outcome. But it seems to me Kasparov has lost because of the software bug that allowed Deep Blue to make an unexpected move. You can read about it here. It is fascinating!
Recently, in an interview Kasparov said that his biggest challenge was psychological: “the pressure on the human player facing the machine is simply unbearable.”
The computer is not getting upset by its mistakes.
Modern best chess players have similar qualities. Well, they extensively use computers during their training and probably adjust to this style. And natural selection has picked up those who are less affected by emotions. Otherwise, there is no chance to become a world champion. Kasparov rates the pretenders exactly by this quality, not by how much they know (they all know more than can use in practice). Such a focus on success draws from persistence and a burning desire to reach the goal too.
The burning desire and positive thinking are also at the foundation of many teachings and even training courses that claim to help you to succeed in anything you really want. Books by Norman Peel were sold by millions, especially his “The Power of Positive Thinking”. The author was a personal friend of presidents Nixon and Reagan. President Clinton kept him in a high esteem too. And Trump. The family of the latter attended the church, where Peel preached. Trump and his two sisters were married there.
Such optimism and a positive attitude are the main cultural sources of American optimism and persistence. Oscar Wilde once said: “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful.” So, it is very helpful and quite healthy — to move ahead and follow your dream.
But it is also useful to understand at the right time (that’s the clincher!) that the direction is wrong and we better stop pushing there. We call such ability wisdom. Negative emotions help by weakening our drive and forcing us to revisit the original plan. We stop sticking to the erroneous decision and survive, even at the risk of missing an opportunity this time.
We hope that computers can help us to make more rational (better!) decisions. But will we be able to instill wisdom in the AI?