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Essays in Philosophy

Volume 6, Issue 1, January 2005

The Philosophy of Technology

Stefano Franchi
Pages 85-114

Chess, Games, and Flies

Research in Artificial Intelligence has always had a very strong relationship with games and game-playing, and especially with chess. Workers in AI have always denied that this interest was more than purely accidental. Parlor games, they claimed, became a favorite topic of interest because they provided the ideal test case for any simulation of intelligence. Chess is the Drosophila of AI, it was said, with reference to the fruit-fly whose fast reproductive cycle made it into a favorite test bed for genetic theories for almost a century. In this paper I will try to show Artificial Intelligence’s relationship to games is quite different from what this analogy suggests. In fact, I will argue that AI is, at core, a theory of games and a theory of subjectivity as game-playing.

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