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Garry Kasparov.

“Technology tips the balance in favor of the free world”

The chess champion, first defeated by a computer in 1997, was invited to discuss the consequences of technology on democracy, facing off against German MEP Svenja Hahn during the Tocqueville Talks.

However, he is one of the best placed to know that the machine is supplanting the man in all the disciplines in which they compete with each other. However, the Russian chess champion is not resentful: he now defends artificial intelligence when he was the first great chess player to be defeated by the Deep Blue supercomputer, in 1997, after having worked for several years on the development of the first prototypes of virtual chess players. . .

Guest of Tocqueville Conversations, Garry Kasparov had the opportunity to explain it in depth to the MEP Svenja Hahn, specialist of the European Parliament on issues of regulation of artificial intelligence and new information technologies. Both were questioned by the journalist from Figaro Laure Mandeville on the risks that technological progress represents for democracy. “Artificial intelligence is everywhere“Svenja Hahn first clarified, reminding the listeners present at the Tocqueville Foundation and the viewers connected to the Figaro site that this technological approach”you already choose the music you listen to or the people you meet on online dating apps».

An omnipresence that the chess champion recognizes without, however, unduly worrying him about the future of humanity, which continues to be the only one that holds, strictly speaking, the “intelligence», He clarified. “Deep Blue, the computer that beat me at chess, was not smart. And furthermore, it is not entirely appropriate to speak of artificial intelligence. Of course, and I know something about it, the machine now triumphs in all the games offered to it: chess, the game of Go, even poker, which is nevertheless reputed to contain a great deal of psychology. But the machine can only learn and win in a closed system. We do not have the shadow of proof that one day you will know how to transfer information from one closed system to another, but precisely the sensible world in which we operate is the opposite of a closed system.»

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However, recognizing, following a question from Laure Mandeville, that technology put into the hands of ill-intentioned political systems can strengthen the power of control of the states over populations, Garry Kasparov insists on the other hand that, in return, it offers individuals to escape from this control. “States are stronger thanks to technology, but individuals also find a space of freedom there: look at what is happening in Hong Kong, or in other countries where important freedom movements have emerged, technology gives a global impact to these struggles.“The fight of the free world against dictatorships has existed for a long time, long before the advent of artificial intelligence, he added, but according to him.”technology tips the scales in favor of the free world».


Without sweeping the “fears“That wakes up, Garry Kasparov insisted on disassociating the real-world technology from the”hollywood fantasies“Unrelated, according to him, with what artificial intelligence will be tomorrow. And describe, in detail, the present and future transformations caused by the change from the world to the universe of connected objects and artificial intelligences. Schumpeterien, the chess champion wastes no time crying over the old world, on the contrary praising the creation of jobs and the new economic opportunities that this transformation and the emergence of this new paradigm allow.

However, in her conversations with the deputy Svenja Hahn she agreed on the need to regulate technologies and artificial intelligence, reviewing with her several of the large projects that await countries and international organizations in this vast political field. “The human factor is still the most important of all»They concluded in unison, while Laure Mandeville recalled by thanking the two speakers the need, according to Tocqueville, to trust civil society to guarantee respect for democracy despite the will to power of the State.

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As for the idea that the technological paradigm draws the contours of a new, disembodied and dehumanized world, in which interactions with our fellow men will be partly replaced by machines, this time the journalist’s objection has remained unanswered. “In fact it’s a dilemmaGarry Kasparov was content to answer.