Sunday, 8 March 2009

Chess Quote - Marcel Duchamp - Chess Is A Sport

Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)

Chess is a sport. A violent sport. This detracts from its most artistic connections. One intriguing aspect of the game that does not imply artistic connotations is the geometrical patterns and variations of the actual set-up of the pieces in the combinative, tactical, strategical and positional sense. It is a sad means of expression though - somewhat like religious art - it is not very gay. If it is anything, it is a struggle.
– Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp (18871968) was a French artist (identified with the Dadaism & Surrealism movements). From 1918 Duchamp slowly made a transition from artist to chess player. By 1923, when he had returned to Paris, he was no longer a practising artist. Duchamp's obsession with chess so distressed his first wife that she allegedly glued the chess pieces to the board.

Portrait of Chess Players (1911) [Duchamp]

How Smart Are Chimps? - Video by Jon Cohen

Interesting video on chimp cognition by Jon Cohen.

Click image - video will open on a separate page (slow loading).

Video Concept List:
0-9, Ai, AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, Ancestors, Ayumu, Bigger brain, Buzzer, Chicago, Chimpanzee, Chimp research, Chimps, Cognitive experiments, Complex language, Computer screen, Culture, Counting, Empathise, Evolution, Facial expressions, Genetic research, Guinea (Africa), HIV, Humans, Jane Goodall, Jon Cohen, Kyoto University, Love, Matsuzawa, Muscular short-term memory, Numerals, Primate Research Institute (Kyoto University), Short-term memory, Slate, Smarter, Species, Stronger, Symbols, Tetsuro Matsuzawa, Treat, Walk, White rectangles, Wild chimpanzees

Rationality & Procrastination

Can procrastination be rational?

This article by Isaac Sorkin & Henry Swift - An economic study of procrastination, The Swarthmore Phoenix, Nov 30, 2006 - suggests there can be at least 3 good reasons for procrastinating.

1). Fixed costs to starting work:
  • Some people, before they can settle down to a task, need to go through various rituals - such as tidying their desk, answering emails, filling up the coffee.
  • Putting off work for one heavy session means you don't have do these rituals over and over again.
2). Decreasing marginal costs of working:
  • Many people find the 2nd or 3rd hour of work easier than the 1st hour - i.e. they "feel in the zone", things start making more sense and work becomes more efficient.
  • It is sensible then to make your work sessions as long as possible in order to take advantage of these returns of scale.
  • Meetings quite often work this way as everyone starts to understand the other participants side of the argument.
3). Thick-market externalities:
  • The idea is that if everyone else is doing the same thing that you are, it gets easier and more enjoyable.
  • Skipping these things to work smoothly over the day involves an opportunity cost of missing out on the fun.
  • So it makes sense to clump work like the rest of the team.

Cognitive Styles - Digital Game-Based Learning By Marc Prensky

Marc Prensky (Photo by Jim Allen)

Harvard University economist Kenneth Rogoff (here) has described how "pocket professors" (artificial intelligence & informational technologies) are likely to significantly change future world economic processes. He has partly arrived at this conclusion based on his experience with chess (Rogoff is a chess grandmaster) and the development and impact of chess computing.

There are now a generation of chess players who have grown up with computer chess and computer-based chess tuition as well as the myriad of other digital games now available. Certainly the computer chess age appears to have contributed to the increase in highly skilled younger chess players and grandmasters.

Has computer chess also changed cognitively our elite chess players?

Marc Prensky from the book From Digital Game-Based Learning (McGraw-Hill, 2001) [Amazon link] suggests that there have been 10 major cognitive style changes observed in the children, and hence future adults, of the "Games Generation". The implications of these cognitive style changes for education, training, chess, competitive sports and business are likely to be profound.

1. Twitch speed vs. conventional speed

2. Parallel processing vs. linear processing

3. Random access vs. step-by-step

4. Graphics first vs. text first

5. Connected vs. standalone

6. Active vs. passive

7. Play vs. work

8. Payoff vs. patience

9. Fantasy vs. reality

10. Technology-as-friend vs. technology-as-foe

Further detailed explanation of these cognitive style changes can be found - here.
Well worth a read.

Marc Prensky
From Digital Game-Based Learning
McGraw-Hill Inc.,US (1 Jan 2001)
ISBN-10: 0071363440
ISBN-13: 978-0071363440

Game Theory & Hospital Management - Chess - Poker - Cooperation

Game theory first became recognised following the publication of the book Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (1944) by John von Neumann & Oskar Morgenstern. It has wide application for decision support in many aspects of life. The article below briefly discusses how game theory can be useful for enabling effective hospital management.

The hospital manager and game theory: chess master, poker player, or cooperative game player?

Hospital management can be seen as a game, and doctors, nurses, and health maintenance organizations are its players. The astute hospital manager realizes the interdependence of individual career strategies and the hospital's success, just as players in a game are interdependent on each other. Managers familiar with game theory may successfully transfer that knowledge to the hospital realm. They may recognize patterns and calculate outcomes like chess players, bluff other hospitals into folding services as poker players do, and cooperate with their own team to maximize productivity. Knowledge of game theory may also make the hospital manager's job.

The hospital manager and game theory: chess master, poker player, or cooperative game player?
Dowd SB, Root A. [Diagnostic and Therapeutic Services, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294-1212, USA.]
Health Care Manag (Frederick). 2003 Oct-Dec;22(4):305-10.
PMID: 14672441 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Ken Rogoff On Chess, Artificial Intelligence & Globalization

Kenneth Rogoff

I have recently posted a list of chess player economists (here). One of the most influential economists in the world currently is Kenneth Rogoff (Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Harvard University, and formerly chief economist at the IMF). In this article from the site Project Syndicate Rogoff argues that replacing people with "pocket professors" (artificial intelligence portable computer technology) is likely to be more important than outsourcing and globalisation in the future.

Artificial Intelligence and Globalization - Kenneth Rogoff - Project Syndicate:

Today’s conventional wisdom is that the rise of India and China will be the single biggest factor driving global jobs and wages over the twenty-first century. High-wage workers in rich countries can expect to see their competitive advantage steadily eroded by competition from ... Asia, Latin America, and maybe even some day Africa. ... But I wonder whether ... another factor will influence our work lives even more: the exponential rise of applications of artificial intelligence.

My portal to the world of artificial intelligence is a narrow one: the ... game of chess. You may not care a whit about chess... But the stunning developments coming out of the chess world ... should still command your attention. Chess has long been the centerpiece of research in artificial intelligence. While in principle, chess is solvable, the game’s computational complexity is almost incomprehensible. It is only a slight exaggeration to say there are more possible moves in a chess game than atoms in a universe.

Rest of article here ...