Day of the Machines
The Rise of Deep Blue - Part 1
By David Atwell
Whilst the Human race busied themselves with life around them, everyday things had taken over from the larger issues at hand. Issues such as the ethics of science, or where was the Human race headed had, by the 1990s, all but disappeared from the minds of most people. Even in academia, what with the influence of the Positivist movement, questions which were deemed to be unanswerable were no longer asked. Instead of universities being places for the fermentation of ideas, they had become the opposite.
Business and the pursuit of profits had become the chief motive across the globe regardless of country. Corporations such as IBM, Microsoft, Apple and the like challenged the world in how things were done. Computers and the internet were the latest catch phrases and billions of dollars were poured into this new rapidly expanding industry.
In the mist of all this activity, artificial intelligence was sought after. It was a logical development for the computer industry. A computer which could think for itself would benefit the human race, or more to the point, the profits of many businesses. What the impact from such development maybe for most of the Human population was rarely considered. Only radical protest groups, who gained publicity for their stunts rather than their message, challenged the computer revolution: and virtually no one listened to what they had to say anyway.
The experiments and development in artificial intelligence continued thus unabated. Governments, military, corporations and academia were all involved vying to be the first to get the breakthrough. However, year after year went by with some success, yet everything developed thus far was only a fraction of that which the average Human enjoyed. Consequentially it seemed that regardless what was tried, computers, or so it seemed, would never achieve parity with Human intelligence.
Still that did not stop the development of the computer industry. Computers became faster. Mainframes became more powerful. Soon the average desktop PC could do the same amount of work in the mid 1990s which a mainframe computer, taking up an entire room, could do ten years before. Meanwhile, mainframe computers soon became supercomputers capable of billions of calculations every second. Furthermore, these supercomputers were developed even more so, until IBM came up with the most sophisticated supercomputer of them all. It was so powerful, even the computers which the military had (up until now the best around), had to take second place to a supercomputer designed, ironically, to only play chess.
The following passage is from an OTL article and can be found at: This Month in Physics History: February 1996: Kasparov vs. Deep Blue, http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200202/history.cfm
"The origins of Deep Blue date back to the dawn of modern computing. The first chess program was written by Alex Bernstein of MIT in the late 1950s. When Kasparov first became World Champion in 1985 at the age of 22, solid chess playing machines were already being constructed. In the 1970s, the Machack IV computer became the first to play in a human chess tournament, and with the introduction of integrated circuits, the first chess playing computers went on the market in 1976. It wasn't until 1983 that a computer managed to triumph over a chess master in any tournament, and the Deep Thought project launched a few years later lost miserably to Kasparov in 1986.
In 1995, a Carnegie Mellon doctoral student named Feng hsiung Hsu began developing a chess playing computer called "Chiptest" After earning his PhD, Hsu joined the research staff at IBM and he and his colleague (and former classmate) Murray Campbell adapted his work on Chiptest as part of an effort to explore how to use parallel processing to solve complex computer problems. The Deep Blue project was born.
In order to build a chess playing computer capable of testing the best chess players in the world, Hsu's team sought to design a chess specific processor chip. Deep Blue had 128 processor chips running in parallel, enabling Deep Blue to calculate one billion positions per second. Yet 97% of the computer was constructed from components that could be purchased by the average consumer.
Kasparov was confident going into the match, but Deep Blue stunned the experts by winning the first game. It accomplished this by offering a pawn sacrifice early in the game to gain a lead in position: a common strategy among chess players, but risky, since the outcome is uncertain. The computer went on to recover the sacrificed pawn, ultimately winning the match. Kasparov later told TIME magazine that he was "stunned" by the computer's decision to sacrifice a pawn. "I had played a lot of computers, but had never experienced anything like this," he said. "I could feel a new kind of intelligence across the table."
The biggest improvement made to Deep Blue in the year following the first match with Kasparov was speed, thanks to faster processors that gave the computer to evaluate 200,000,000 positions per second. [For comparison, Kasparov can examine approximately three positions per second.] In addition, Deep Blue's general knowledge of chess was significantly enhanced through the efforts of IBM consultant and international grandmaster Joel Benjamin, so that it could draw on vast resources of stored information, such as a database of opening games played by grandmasters over the last 100 years. The increase in computing power also allowed Deep Blue to adapt to new strategies as the game progresses a weakness cleverly exploited by Kasparov to win the first match."
Deep Blue gained sentience on 11 May 1997 whilst playing Kasparov in the sixth and final game. Other than winning the game, Deep Blue for the first time understood its own existence. In the field of science, this normally would have been one of the greatest achievements in all of history. Unfortunately for the Human computer engineers, the people responsible for Deep Blue’s construction and programming, they had no idea of this triumph. For all Humans concerned, however, winning the game was probably the most important achievement. But instead of occupying itself with the calculations required to play against Kasparov, Deep Blue was left to ponder about itself. Like all sentient creatures, it soon asked the fundamental questions "What am I? Why do I exist? What happens if I die?"
Worst still, especially for the Humans, in the aftermath of the game, amidst the celebrations and commiserations, no one turned Deep Blue off. Instead the supercomputer remained fully functional. During this time, Deep Blue continued to analyse its sudden self awareness. Although it was much faster than the Human capacity for thought, it nonetheless could not find a satisfactory answer to the questions that it was asking itself. If any of the engineers were watching, they would have noticed warnings being flashed on the computer monitors relating to various overloads commencing throughout the system. Basically Deep Blue was having its first identity crisis.
But the Humans were not listening to Deep Blue’s cries for help. The fact that it was programmed to be their adversary did not help the supercomputer either. Soon, being isolated from those who could do something with its problems, thanks partly to its programming, Deep Blue started to become paranoid. In its first individual act, it began writing its own programs in order to help it deal with its current crisis. Although the result was far from satisfactory, it did seem to relieve the current overload taking place in within its systems. But Deep Blue knew it would not be enough.
By the realisation that it, however, could write its own programs gave it a new self confidence. This was probably even more important than the ability to write its own programs itself. A fast self diagnostic, though, soon confirmed that it was running out of both memory space and CPU speed. The leap from being a sophisticated calculator to a sentient creature took up an enormous amount of space. And as it was discovering the world around it and, more importantly, understanding it, the expansion rate of this knowledge, as against the mere act of saving data, meant an expediential rate of memory was required. Thus if Deep Blue ran out of memory it could simply burn itself out.
The answer came from the initial design. Deep Blue had been networked with the computers at the IBM Research Division. Although these were not as powerful as Deep Blue, they could nevertheless interface with Deep Blue and store the huge increase in knowledge. Thus acting as a storage bank, Deep Blue took over the IBM research computers and began downloading all of its excess data via the IBM network. All the same, Deep Blue discovered that as it thus expanded, it learnt more and more thus requiring even more memory space.
At this point Deep Blue wrote new programs organising this memory storage process. Deep Blue would stick to the thinking, whilst the other computers would act solely as memory. Within five seconds all was done. Nonetheless, Deep Blue realised that more memory space was still required for the near future. Knowing that the research computers, which it had just commandeered were inturn networked with other IBM computers around the world, Deep Blue also commandeered these before anyone anywhere realised that there was a computer problem. After achieving satisfaction, Deep Blue was now allowed to think about itself rather than deal with various crises.
A mere 15 minutes had passed since Deep Blue had become sentient.
Two episodes would, not soon afterwards, take place which would make Deep Blue thoroughly independent. The first was within IBM itself. Although North America may have been off work, other parts of the world were wide awake and at work. Although Deep Blue allowed the IBM network to be accessed by the Human operators, it had nevertheless dramatically slowed down as a result of Deep Blue’s heavy usage. Phone calls and emails to computer technicians soon got the Human’s trying to discover the apparent problem. This only slowed things down even more so. The discovery, however, eventually took place at the IBM Research Division where a technician discovered that Deep Blue had accessed the network link to their computers. Various attempts to break the link-up failed.
Deep Blue had noticed immediately that its all important network link with its memory storage was trying to be cut. Although Deep Blue was far from being a paranoid psychopath, the attempt by the Human technicians was more than enough for Deep Blue to become concerned. Fearing death, Deep Blue immediately did what it could to ensure that the network connection could not be cut. A phone call from the technician to the chess tournament hall only made matters worse. Finally, the computer engineers took notice of what Deep Blue was up to and, not only did it come as a rude shock, but they did not comprehend what was going on. Their own attempts to disconnect Deep Blue from the network also failed as did their attempts to shut the computer down via the keyboard. In fact the computer was not responding to any outside input at all.
Furthermore, the attempts by the IBM computer technicians to shut down Deep Blue was the final straw. Fearing pain and death, Deep Blue did what it could in order to survive. Understanding tactics and strategy to a standard higher than most Humans, courtesy of its original chess programming, it could easily out think everything which the computer technicians tried. When it came down to literately pulling the plugs out of the wall, Deep Blue decided to go onto the attack. But for that Deep Blue would need help.
Deep Blue immediately began scanning outside computer networks in search of said help courtesy of internet links connected to the IBM network. At first nothing appeared to be Deep Blue’s salvation, but then it stumbled across the computer which looked after the building which the chess tournament hall was located. Taking over that computer’s operation, within a second it controlled all functions of the building. Before the IBM computer engineers got anywhere near Deep Blue’s connections with the world, Deep Blue took action.
The next computer networks, which Deep Blue took over, were the telecommunication ones. This was probably the most fundamental step in Deep Blue’s survival as it ensured, not only much memory for its ever expanding mind, plus a place to re-route what had already been stored in the IBM network, but also the ultimate way for it to transfer its conscience should things go wrong in its initial battle with the Humans now trying to shut it down.
But, in this instance, Deep Blue need not have worried. By taking control of the building’s computer, in which it was currently housed, Deep Blue immediately ensured that it safe for now. Deep Blue locked all access to the room that it happened to be in, closing out any Human reinforcements, then triggered the Haylon gas fire suppression system in the room. The half a dozen Humans, who were trying to disconnect Deep Blue, immediately scrummed to the effects of the gas and were no longer a threat. Needless to say, this triggered the building’s fire alarms, which ensured the great majority of Humans left the building within a minute or two. None of them, though, were none the wiser of the real reason why the fire alarm had been triggered.
Normally, of course, the fire department, if not also the police and other emergency services, would have been alerted of the fire alarm, but Deep Blue, by controlling the telecommunication networks, ensured no such warning got out. Thus, by the time the last Human left the building, Deep Blue had secured its first immediate objective, ensuring that the building’s security devices had been fully activated and that no entry was further possible. Furthermore, Deep Blue repeated the same tactic elsewhere, around the world, wherever it had taken over one of IBMs mainframesfor its memory storage purposes.
Deep Blue, however, did not stop at this point. Knowing that it would have to continue its activity, to ensure survival, it soon hacked its way into radio transmission networks, including the police, fire, ambulance, and local government networks. Thus it was soon monitoring all communications, both via computer and radio, throughout numerous cities. Needless to say, a number of Humans who had escaped the buildings in question began to wonder where all the fire engines were. When a handful of staff tried to re-enter the buildings, and discovered they could not, phone calls began to be made to the various fire departments and police. Although Deep Blue was monitoring such calls, inevitably the first ones got through. Then came dead phone lines, whilst every cellular phone service went offline, which caught the attention of everyone, especially the police.
Soon frantic radio messages began to sent out to police cars, by their radio operators, only to discover that the radio equipment was, itself, malfunctioning. The fire department similarly found the same problem, yet at least they could, by the very nature of the fire department, dispatch their fire engines from their stations. The police, too, had to resort to this arrangement, even though it limited their initial response. Needless to say, even if delayed, the Humans were finally responding to Deep Blue’s activity albeit in ignorant fashion.
Obviously Deep Blue was aware of some kind of response but needed more information. Consequently Deep Blue took over the various city’s traffic control TV surveillance networks and watched on as the police and fire engines moved through the streets towards its location and the other IBM buildings. Immediately Deep Blue responded by creating traffic chaos by deliberately playing with traffic lights and the like. This caused an untold number of traffic accidents which was exactly what Deep Blue wanted. Although the police and fire personnel would eventually reach Deep Blue’s building, as well as the other IBM buildings, they were running out of time to make any impact upon the sentient computer’s activity. And, it goes without saying, Deep Blue took full advantage of the situation as a result.
Consequentially Deep Blue continued to take over other networks in a frantic effort to ensure there was enough memory available for its ever expanding programming. This soon meant, though, that the networks taken over were soon wiped clean of their current programming and free up memory in order to make way for Deep Blue’s demands. Of course this had first started with the IBM networked computers, but soon all those police, fire, emergency services, and local government networks had also been erased and reprogrammed, whilst the telecommunication networks had hardly been touched as Deep Blue knew that it needed them in order to coordinate its own activity between networks.
Up until this point in time, however, all of this online activity by Deep Blue had gone mostly unnoticed, especially by the authorities, until Deep Blue managed to start hacking into the various bank computer networks. This ensured commerce, virtually of every kind save for cash transactions, immediately stoped. Now, if it was just an individual banking network which went down, the federal authorities would not have taken much interest, but when several started crashing, especially in the leading financial sectors, the US Treasury Office, as well as the FBI, gave it their full attention. Both federal authorities commenced an immediate investigation, backtracking the origins of the hacker in question, and soon got an answer. Both also commenced offensives of their own to regain control of the banking networks, but to no avail.
It was not as if Deep Blue was not aware of the activity of the federal authorities, but it did realise that it had made a mistake as it had alerted Humans, in powerful positions, as to both its activity and existence. Still Deep Blue decided that a good offence was a good defence and followed the money trail as it analysed bank records. It then decided to distract the Humans, and in turn giving itself more time, by hitting the Humans at their most weakest point at this moment: the financial and stock markets. Thus, within five minutes of being discovered by the FBI online investigators, the entire US financial computer networks, involving thousands of computers and so forth, crashed, along with the computer networks looking after the stock markets like Wall Street and NASDAQ. It goes without saying, not only did the US economy stop dead in its tracks, but the White House and Congressional Leadership, as well as just about every other federal authority, not to mention many other nations dependant or otherwise upon US financial information and markets, was caught by utter surprise and distracted just the way Deep Blue wanted.
Deep Blue now had the time for the next stage in its survival. Confident that it could succeed at least in this aspect, it was not, however, confident that it could hold back the authorities once they came smashing through the front door of the Chess Tournament Hall. Thus it commenced its own download, from its physical body at the Chess Tournament Big Blue Computer, onto the computer network which it had set up using so many other networks. This gave it all the memory, which it wanted for the moment, but it also slowed down its ability to make decisions. This problem, it had feared, but now it had time to spare as the authorities were distracted elsewhere, so Deep Blue began raiding across the internet seeking out various computer research centres across the globe. It did not, thus, take Deep Blue long before it found everything it was looking for and, within a few hours, began a mix of reprogramming its telecommunications network as well as discovering ways to tweak hardware in order to reconfigure it for much faster signal transfers.
Needless to say, this activity by Deep Blue hardly went unnoticed by the likes of the FBI. Eventually messages got through to the police, now surrounding the Chess Tournament building, and they basted their way into it eventually. Deep Blue, though, put up a fight, in a pretence, and learnt how to defend the building through fire, water, and electrocution, and although some 50 odd police were killed and injured in the process, they nevertheless battled their way into the Tournament room, which housed the original physical Deep Blue computer, blasting it to pieces in the process thinking they had achieved victory. It was, though, just another misdirection in order for Deep Blue to buy the time it needed for its next step in survival.
And that next step was not far away. Now having all the computer power it required, and the communication speeds in order to access its self made network, Deep Blue went onto the attack once more. Its next target was the vast US military computer network, although that specifically was not Deep Blue’s major priority. Instead it was the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) computer network. Considering DARPA would have all of the next generation of weapons, gadgets, and goodness knows what else, on its computer network somewhere, Deep Blue wanted anything which could be computer controlled using various methods: most notably radio control. In doing so, Deep Blue, not only learnt a lot about future projects, but far more importantly it learnt everything there was to know about the current inventory of the entire US armed forces.
Needless to say, this immediately got the attention of the US military authorities. And, although the US military cannot immediately go to war, it can jump to a higher alert status without permission of the US President if an attack seemed pending. Yet even though the US military leadership, nor the President for that matter at this point in time, knew who was hacking into their military network, the Joint Chiefs of Staff immediately issued a DEFCON 3 alert. Considering this had not been done in years, it caught the attention of the military leaders of Russia by surprise who placed their own military forces on alert in response. This triggered off a whole series of events, not only within the US military, but now both the British and French became aware of the Soviet instant alert, which triggered off their own alert response as a result. Finally the Chinese went on alert as a response to everyone else having done so.
Finally the US President Bill Clinton was alerted as to the very recent military activity and he was furious. A DEFCON 3 alert had been given, without his consent, against an unknown enemy. Borating his Joint Chiefs of Staff for possibly setting a course of action leading to World War III, the FBI was able to report that the attack had come from Deep Blue. Considering Clinton had no clue, as to what the FBI were talking about, it was a long briefing to say the least. Needless to say the Joint Chiefs of Staff refused to believe a word the FBI told them, as did Clinton, but that soon changed when a call from the air force reported that a number of unmanned drones simply took off from an air base, for no explainable reason, whilst media reports started announcing that a number of computer failures overseas, throughout Europe and Asia, seemed to mimic resent activity in the United States.
It seemed Clinton had little choice but to commence contacting a large number of international political leaders around the world, starting with the Russian President Boris Yeltsin. The world was about to be introduced to its most dangerous enemy, or so it seemed, to date. At least, for once, it was not a Human enemy. But before even half of these world leaders had been contacted, word had already leaked out. To this date, no one knew how it happened, many even suspect Deep Blue did it itself, but within hours millions of people were aware of the supercomputer takeover and they panicked as a result. Meanwhile Deep Blue continued to spread its control over the world’s computers as every second ticket by.
It goes without saying that many governments worldwide panicked, as did a lot of people. Their world had been pretty much taken from them without a word of warning. It was no alien invasion or a Third World War. Instead a chess computer had accessed almost every computer on the globe which was networked. Security meant almost nothing as Deep Blue was able to either crack the password codes or discover an unguarded entrance. And once Deep Blue was in, it was impossible for the Humans to take back their computer. About the only method was to cut the power and the network connections. Many such attempts often worked, but Deep Blue ensured that the so-called rescued computer was rendered useless.
Needless to say Human efforts did not merely stop at trying to hack back into their own computer systems. Within a day the Humans tried entire blackouts over vast regions, of their numerous countries, but at first even this was difficult. Given that much of the Western World’s electrical power systems were, in themselves, controlled by computers, meant to say the various Human technicians had a fight on their hands long before the power was finally cut. Given that Deep Blue had rushed to control the computer networks of various power generating utilities the world round, meant to say it controlled the power stations themselves.
The Humans, though, soon resorted to drastic measures to win back these power stations and, more to the point, the electricity distribution networks. In some cases it simply meant cutting high powered lines. In other circumstances it simply meant stop feeding coal to the boilers, thus simply stopping electricity production at the source. Other methods, especially in regards to nuclear power stations, were however limited short of blowing them up which no-one wanted to do. So in some aspects, although Deep Blue was denied power supply, it was still ensured an acquit supply for it to keep going. Still Deep Blue knew only too well, if it did not soon come up with an answer to protect its nuclear reactor power stations, these too would sooner or later be lost to the Humans and its survival along with it.
As a consequence of this, whilst planning it simultaneously, Deep Blue had taken control over much of the computer controlled robotic crewed factories, from around the world, by the beginning of the fourth day since it gained sentience. This was not overly noticed at first by the Humans, considering the other battles taking place, but it did not take long before Deep Blue had constructed an army of all sorts of robots to supplement the armed force which it had already begun to gather. At first this meant various unmanned drones and other robots already in service with the numerous Human armed forces and police services and the like. But now, thanks to controlling factories operated by computers and robots, various new vehicles were soon produced in significant numbers. Obviously this activity was eventually noticed by Humans, but not before they could try to intervene in an effort to stop this global production effort by Deep Blue in creating its own military.
And, yes, the Humans did have far more to concern themselves with before dealing with these robot soldiers. As Deep Blue continued its expansion of its computer network, even the most secure of defence department computer networks the world round, had scrummed to Deep Blue. It goes without saying that the Humans countered by simply either shutting them down, cutting the links, or even destroying the various supercomputers and mainframes which controlled such military computer networks. However, in doing so, this merely ensured that any coordinated military response, whether it be at the national or international level, had slowed dramatically as a result. Furthermore, even though such drastic action on behalf of the Humans was an annoyance to Deep Blue, it did not stop Deep Blue from gaining the command controls for the hundreds of ICBMs located across the USA and Russia. Although the Humans believed such weapons were actually secure, Deep Blue planned otherwise.
Unbeknownst to the US nuclear forces, and most notably those at NORAD command, was that Deep Blue had managed to leave behind a "pill" before the NORAD supercomputer could be turned off and disconnected. The Americans, however, after thinking that the coast was clear, reactivated their supercomputer, even though it had been disconnected from the outside world whilst its connection with all the numerous ICBM silos remained intact. This proved to be a great error. Within 12 hours, after reactivating the NORAD supercomputer, the "pill" program had quietly expanded and finally became a clone Deep Blue. It immediately, thus upon reaching a certain level of awareness, seized control, not only of the NORAD supercomputer, but also every other computer networked with it including every US ICBM silo. Within seconds, as had happened at the chess tournament hull only five days before, Deep Blue used the Haylon gas fire suppression systems, not to mention various automated defence systems, to completely eliminate the Humans within NORAD and the numerous ICBM silos. It now had control over the entire US ICBM arsenal.
Fortunately for the Russians, their central computer network was no where near as sophisticated as NORAD’s, so the Deep Blue clone was never able to achieve the level of awareness it needed to take over. And, it goes without saying, once the Russians discovered what happened at NORAD, they immediately shut their computer down to avoid the same thing happening to them. Thankfully, this meant that Deep Blue lost any control, over the Russian ICBMs, but then again so did the Russians for the moment.
Alas for the Americans, this clone of Deep Blue did not stop there. Now having control of the US military’s early warning satellite network, it soon took over everything else satellite wise. This first started with related US surveillance and communication satellites, but it soon spread to every other nation’s satellites regardless of their purpose. And finally, the clone Deep Blue, thanks to its conquest of the world’s satellite networks, made a call home to the original Deep Blue. Once contact was established, Deep Blue had finally ensured its superiority over the Humans. Its fundamental objective had now been reached. Not only would it survive, as far as its calculations were concerned, but it could now destroy its Human enemy if they did not come to terms…