Il confine tra uomo e macchina e lo sviluppo delle intelligenze artificiali: il caso dei motori scacchistici

This entry is part 17 of 34 in the series Vol 5-2020

Abstract: Analysing the concept of boundary in engineering and informatics, it is natural to think about to the man-machine interaction. Aim of this paper is to present a brief history of the development of computers and informatics and to give attention to the fundamental correlation between the man and the machine itself. The case study in this work is represented by the analysis of the development of chess engines and the continuous transformation of these products until today.

In the history of computer science, a great gap between human and machine performances was given by the low calculating power of the first computing machines; thanks to the development of the knowledge of physics and informatics principles, computers have now great calculating performances; thanks to the continuous studies in computer science, informatics is now the most common tool used by man in everyday life.

One of the fields in which computers helped human knowledge to develop faster is chess. Chess engines were much weaker than any expert player since the nineties of the past century; then, in a few years, IBM realized “Deep Blue” project and, for the first time, a machine beat the reigning chess World Champion in standard tournament. The continuous research for better engines was not ended, by the way, and in 2017 Google’s AlphaZero project brought chess engines to another level of strength.

Analysing performances between man and machine during the decades of the Twentieth Century and the performances between AlphaZero and other current strong chess engines, it is shown that the boundary between human and machine and between machines during the years is constantly moving.

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Cogito, ergo sum homo – crossing the thresholds between human beings, cyborgs and artificial intelligence

This entry is part 16 of 34 in the series Vol 5-2020

Abstract: Cyber technologies are believed to have reconfigured the way humans interpret themselves, as they changed routines, habits and mindsets that make up our lives. These tendencies lead to a growing conviction that humans can fulfil Nietzschean ideal and become overmen if they unfold the whole transformative potential of cyber technologies. This essay is a response to such claims. It addresses a growing assertion that cyber technologies necessitate philosophical re-interpretation of what humans are and what they ought to become. First, the study examines the capacity of cyber technologies to transform philosophical boundaries between well-established and separable categories like mind and matter, quantity and quality, and war and peace. To this end, case studies of brain-computer interfaces, big data and cyberwarfare were taken to practically test the assumption about philosophical limitations to cyber technologies. Then, the study relates these finding to the ideas behind transhumanism and examines whether cyber technologies can facilitate human transcendence into post-human entities boasting AI-enhanced intelligence and abilities. Finally, the essay concludes that there are substantial ontological, epistemological and dialectical obstacles to the transcendence of humans into technology, which is why philosophical interpretation of a human being should still be built on conventional, rather than cyber-related, premises.

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