Russian Chess Champ Says It’s ‘Counterproductive’ to Be Wary of Robots

Garry Kasparov, famous for being first World Chess Champion to lose to a computer, isn’t concerned about AI just yet

Garry Kasparov, the chess grandmaster and political activist famous for being the first World Chess Champion to lose to a computer 20 years ago this month, isn’t worried about robots making humans obsolete just yet.

In an interview Wednesday with TechCrunch at Disrupt 2017, Kasparov said artificial intelligence — the development of computer systems able to perform tasks like or better than humans — is something workers should not be concerned over.

“The biggest challenge is not that jobs are being lost, but that they’re not being lost fast enough,” said Kasparov. “Because unless you have a cycle moving fast, you will not be able to create new, sustainable jobs, [and] you will not be able to generate economic growth that will help replace jobs being lost.”

Kasparov said he’s sympathetic to the threat advancements in Artificial Intelligence pose towards blue and white collar workers, but that it’ll also create new opportunities to work alongside automation. He cited Facebook recently hiring 3,000 people to monitor live video and filter fake news as an example.

Kasparov added there are areas where machines will likely never be able to replace humans.

“The challenge is for us is to always be creative because certain things we can do and machines I don’t think will ever be able to replicate,” said Kasparov. “It’s things that involve emotions, passions, and, by the way, purpose. I want to emphasize that even with all the algorithms in the world, machines will not have purpose since we probably don’t know how to explain it.”

The Russian dissident, now living in exile in New York, is forever linked to AI after he famously lost to IBM’s “Deep Blue” supercomputer in a six-game match in May 1997 (although he won the first battle a year earlier).

Kasparov argued Hollywood movies like “The Terminator” and “The Matrix” have often pushed a pessimistic view of AI, creating an “us against them” struggle between humans and machines. He said it’s “counterproductive” to have a gloomy outlook on the future of machine automation because “technology always deceives us.”