Archive for March, 2008

Chess as Art
March 15, 2008

The book How Life Imitates Chess written by world famous chess player Gary Kasparov has a very interesting paragraph describing how the dadaist artist Marcel Duchamp interpreted Chess:

The artist Marcel Duchamp was an energic chess player. During a period of his life, he even resigned art for chess and said that the game had “all the beauty of art and even more.” Duchamp confirmed this aspect of the game when he said “I have come to the conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists.” And it’s true that we can’t ignore the creative element of chess, even though we must analyze this in contrast to the fundamental goal of winning the match.

On the blog of Julian Gallo (great site, written in spanish), I’ve found a beautiful definition of Chess written by Stefan Zweig:

(…) the only game that belongs to all peoples and all ages; of which none knows the divinity that bestowed it on the world, to slay boredom, to sharpen the senses, to exhilarate the spirit. One searches for its beginning and for its end. Children can learn its simple rules, duffers succumb to its temptation, yet within this immutable tight square it creates a particular species of master not to be compared with any other – persons destined for chess alone, specific geniuses in whom vision, patience, and technique operative through a distribution no less precisely ordained than in mathematicians, poets, composers, but merely used on a different level.

You might remember Gary Kasparov for his mythological match against IBM’s Deep Blue. One thing that has always fascinated me about that historical moment of gaming, is the claim Kasparov made saying that psychological tactics were applied by IBM to make him play under big pressure and hence, let the big machine win.

Apparently, the whole Deep Blue game worked as a great publicity stunt for IBM and when they won the rematch, the company’s stock went way too high on Wall Street.

Sometimes, games aren’t just a game.

Robots Have Feelings
March 6, 2008

Alan Kay once said:

People that love making software, eventually end up doing their own hardware.

I’ve often said to colleagues and friends that when I reach 30, I’ll stop doing software and interactive stuff just to start building robots. Nothing can beat a business card that says “robot maker”. It’s the ultimate thing.

According to those visions of the future from the 50’s were flying cars and robots would define the lifestyle of our century, seems that there’s still a lot of work to be done. Yet, if you make a little research online, you can see pretty surprising things.

Qrio is one of my favorites. He has a sweet and creepy voice. Plug that output with Wikipedia and you might be able to talk about anything with him!

I love how people like to act all natural when they are with ASIMO.

Finally, I just want to state that humans need to dance like robots more often..