Chess computer to get inside players' minds


Chess computer to get inside players' minds

Nick Booth

Riken, the Japanese government-affiliated research institute, is teaming up with Fujitsu and the Japanese Shogi Association to develop a computer that doesn't just beat you at chess, but analyses the human condition.

Some of the country's finest Shogi players (Shogi is the Japanese form of chess) will be assembled in a lab with sensors attached to their heads, in order to monitor the activity of their well developed brains.

"Computers can be programmed to beat the expert chess players, but that tells us nothing of the mysteries of the mind," said a Fujitsu spokesman.

Since Shogi is a game involving tactics, analysis and acting on hunches, the scientists think they can learn something about human insight. If they can monitor how information is stored, following incidents, and how that information may be processed and acted on subsequent occasions, the theory is that the concept of judgement can be methodically scrutinised.

Brain wave patterns will be recorded and functional magnetic resonance imaging used to gauge localised brain activity while shogi players study the board.

The institute plans to spend two years on the project. In future, a computer will be able to beat you at chess, then analyse your character and tell you where you went wrong.

The commercial applications are not evident yet.

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