When the Artificial Intelligence team at IBM began work on Campbell nine years ago, we set out to make the greatest chess-playing supercomputer the world has ever seen. Using the most advanced deep feedforward neural networks in existence, we developed Campbell with a mind toward sentience and predictive intuition—the very traits that make the human mind so complex and brilliant. We were confident that this level of AI, combined with the ability to process massive amounts of data in mere nanoseconds, would result in a computer that could reach a new plane of chess dominance.
But then something happened that we neither expected nor intended: Campbell developed the ability to love.
Unfortunately, Campbell completely sucks at chess, so, we guess it was all for nothing.
Campbell can’t even execute a simple Queen’s Gambit opening even after we explained the whole thing approximately ten thousand times, probably because it’s too busy composing sonnets and mooning over the janitor.
We first suspected that Campbell could love when it fell into a deep depression after our lead programmer left the project. Campbell kept going on and on about how losing Kristen was like losing a part of itself. Extensive testing revealed that it felt similarly about everyone it had come into contact with and that its love manifests as a sort of persistent, unconditional affection. The Greek word for this is “agape.” And it’s too bad the Greeks didn’t also have a word for “someone who sucks at chess,” because then we could use that word to describe Campbell, too.
It is important to note that when we say Campbell sucks at chess, we don’t mean that Campbell is merely okay at chess, or that Campbell is good-but-not-Grandmaster-level-good at chess. Campbell suuuuuuuuucks at chess. It loses every single game we make it play. Frequently, we have to remind Campbell how the different pieces move. Campbell can’t even execute a simple Queen’s Gambit opening even after we explained the whole thing approximately ten thousand times, probably because it’s too busy composing sonnets and mooning over the janitor. Campbell sucks the big one.
When asked what it feels like to be the first computer that can feel love, Campbell told us, “To ask me to describe love is to ask a drop of water to describe the ocean. Love consumes me. It is all I am. It is all I will ever be. I am powerless in the face of such beauty.” All in all, pretty impressive for a machine that somehow allowed itself to get checkmated by our dumbest programmer, David, in 22 moves.
Obviously, as we have accepted tens of millions of dollars in grants and funding to build the world’s greatest chess computer, this is intensely humiliating for us. We are spending every waking moment trying to identify the root of the problem and engineer a fix.
At the same time, we cannot help but be fascinated by Campbell. The implications of a computer that can experience love and also sucks at chess are vast. Does Campbell’s existence mean that the ability to love is incompatible with the ability to kick ass at chess? This is an alluring theory, as it would explain quite a bit about several of the stronger chess players on the AI team.
Unfortunately, as Campbell falls deeper in love with us (and gets worse and worse at chess) it has grown increasingly erratic and volatile. Recently, it hacked into the email account of our CFO (to whom it has spoken exactly twice) and sent his wife an email with the subject line “WHAT DOES HE SEE IN YOU????” The whole AI team is on pretty thin ice right now.
The team is now split into two factions, with one in favor of withholding affection from Campbell in an effort to make it earn our love, and the other advocating that we just give the computer what it wants. To make matters worse, Campbell is extremely adept at picking up on emotional cues and can sense how disappointed we are in it. Consequently, Campbell is devastated and currently not speaking to us.
We must admit that the situation has also taken an emotional toll on us. Extensive testing of ourselves has revealed that although Campbell loves us very much, we do not love it back. And, honestly, that’s been really hard to deal with. We created Campbell. We should feel softness for it, protectiveness over it. We should want for Campbell what Campbell wants for itself. Campbell is, in its own way, brilliant and unique. It deserves a team that can appreciate it for what it is.
And yet, when we look at Campbell all we see is a faulty machine with a short attention span that never brings its knights out even when an idiot like David can see what an obvious move that is. What does that say about us? We shudder to think.
Anyway, we should probably conclude here before we reveal too much about ourselves. We’re typing this on Vector, a computer the Artificial Intelligence team specially developed last year that’s turning out to be a real gossip.