‘Our machines won’t destroy the world’ says Naveen Rao

It was in 1996, part way through his undergraduate degree at Duke University in North Carolina, that Naveen Rao decided to take a course in artificial intelligence. That was also the year in which IBM’s Deep Blue became the first computer to defeat a chess grand master when it won a game, but not a whole match, against Garry Kasparov. There was a buzz around the discipline at that time but, as Naveen says, it had “a very different flavour back then – I would describe it as ‘creative algorithms’.” In 1997 Deep Blue managed to beat Kasparov over the course of a whole six-game match, but some things were still beyond the reach of AI. The game Go, for instance, in which the first move offers 361 possibilities, compared…


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