February 10, 1996: The Machines’ Takeover Begins

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Photo by Flickr user Mukumbura; used under Creative Commons Attribution license.Photo by Flickr user Mukumbura; used under Creative Commons Attribution license.

Photo by Flickr user Mukumbura; used under Creative Commons Attribution license.

Today marks the anniversary of a watershed moment in human history. In Philadelphia, the IBM computer named Deep Blue became, on February 10, 1996, the first machine to beat a reigning chess world champion, Garry Kasparov.

While nobody could have known at the time, this was the moment when machines truly began their conquest of Earth. Despite Kasparov rebounding from his first-game loss to beat Deep Blue in the match, the computer’s win demonstrated the inevitability of the rise of artificially intelligent devices. When the upgraded Deep Blue won the rematch against Kasparov the following year, there were those who thought this presaged humanity’s downfall, but they were largely scoffed at as conspiracy theorists.

So raise a glass in toast to our robot overlords… Did I say “overlords?” I meant “protectors.”

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