Alejandro Crosa

Mi nombre es Alejandro Crosa, nacido y criado en Argentina, unos años atrás llegué a Silicon Valley donde trabajé en los comienzos de LinkedIn, luego en Twitter, Slack y demás.

Knowing less

The story being discussed is about the development of an AI system called Alphago, which was created to play the game Go.

Go is considered the most difficult game for a computer to play due to the vast number of permutations. In a match against a world Grand Master, the computer made a move that was outside of the strategy and understanding of human Go players.

The Grand Master was so shocked by the move that he got up from the table in disgust, but the computer ultimately won the game. The takeaway from the story is that the computer solved the problem by not knowing more than the human, but by knowing less, and using only the rules of the game to make a move that increased its chances of winning mathematically.

This is a powerful example of how new, "orthogonal" approaches can be used to solve problems and that inspiration and new ideas are needed to tackle massive problems.

Full transcript:

... that we're grappling with that very smart people are trying to come up with new ideas around like we need that sensibility as a major part of that conversation we can't solve these massive problems on logic and reason alone we need inspiration we need kind of new orthogonal approaches that maybe we're not seeing and there's a really great story in the book about an AI that kind of illustrates that point would you like being yeah yeah tell that story uh I I saw a video about seven years ago about alphago which was a AI system created to play the game go and they chose go because up until this point chess had been used computer chess but go is the most difficult or it has the most potential combinations of any game and it's the most difficult would be the most difficult game for a computer to be able to play be good at yeah there's like hundreds of billions of permutations yes they're more more permutations than there are grains of sand on the planet that's how many permutations so it's it's a very difficult Computing problem and humans have been playing the game for three thousand years it's a very old game and there was there came a point in the movie where the computer is playing the world's Grand Master and eventually the computer makes a move that has never been made before it's a funny thing to say because it's a game where you place a stone on a square you can place it on any Square you want you know there's no rule where you where you kind of can't place it if you place it on one of the one of the intersections of the squares you can place a stone on any intersection that doesn't have a stone on it and the computer made a move that was outside of the strategy understanding of human beings it placed a stone in the as I remember it there were two choices based on the conditions for the computer to make a move and to even make it was either going to place a stone on the first line or the second line and if they placed the stone on the first line it meant a defensive game and if they placed it on the second line it was a defensive game but anyone with experience who's playing the game ago would know it's one of those two moves right and those are the only two moves that any rational person would make anyone yes and the computer put the stone on line three now there's no rule saying you can't put it on line three but it it was outside of the imagination of the culture of go for three thousand years it made a move that was I'll say irrational to the human go world right the community of go Wizards yes yeah and it was so inflammatory that the Grand Master got up from the table in disgust and there were some questions with the commentators because this was this was on on television this is a like a the computer versus Man big story people thought the computer made a mistake it was like it was such a wrong move couldn't be and the computer ends up winning that game the Grand Master eventually comes back after he composes himself and the computer wins the game and the Grand Master ends up retiring because his mind is so blown by what happened right and when I'm watching the story I realize there are tears running down my face and I'm crying and I wasn't sure why and I thought about it for a while and it wasn't the most obvious answer was the computer beat the man oh no it's the end of the world uh man loses to the computer I'm crying because we're but it wasn't that at all what it was was the reason I realized the reason the computer won was because the computer didn't know more than the human the computer knew less than the human the computer only knew the rules of the game it didn't know the Customs the morals the mores the stories what one Grand Master learns from another grand master the cultural references over the years of the game didn't know the history the etiquette didn't know any of that all it knew was I could put it anywhere by putting it here it's going to increase my chances of winning mathematically so the computer solved a problem not by knowing more but by knowing less and that's a really beautiful idea for me because I it gets back to The Beginner's mind idea it's not that we need to necessarily learn more it's more like we need to think different like maybe if we can let go of some of our beliefs if we can let go of some of the stories that we hold if we watch an event happen instead of accepting the first version of the story that comes to us to help us survive in the world that's what we do we'll we'll see a series of events and we make up a story that explains what that is and that way we can sleep at night right because really we don't know anything we don't know anything that's the powerful Epiphany in the whole thing this humility to embrace the idea that we really don't know that much and when you look at the web telescope images it's so awe-inspiring and it's such a healthy dose of humility to that point right we walk around rational beings it's the Age of Reason and Enlightenment we have answered many questions and to the questions that we don't yet have answers to we feel we're capable of answering those very soon and yet that is still such an incredibly Limited perspective on the totality of what we're actually [ __ ] contending with which is beyond our ability as these tiny organisms to comprehend it's true yeah so to walk the earth with that sensibility of actually we don't really know anything we don't really know anything and and when something happens to say oh that it might be that maybe it's that uh-huh or let's see if we can come up with another reason what else could it be and like ...

Full interview: