Computer Thinking

Posted: September 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

Mmmm. Artificial intelligence. I guess.

For practice in the game of chess I play a great big fat computer. It processes a gazillion times faster than me. It looks ahead a mile of possible moves ahead of me. But that’s the point. I want to face off against its great big brain. Well, some patterns of cognition. I always turn the difficulty level to the highest, like playing 10 Bobby Fishers on steroids. Why else bother? And it always whoops me. Bad. Embarrassingly.

The only gratification I ever get is when the computer is calculating and can’t find a way out … right away. It has a little message at the bottom of the screen: “Computer Thinking.” Thinking indeed. It’s calculating within a range of programmed alternatives. They are numerous and complex, but finite, always within what’s been programmed. So I love to get to the place, even if it will prevail, when it spends fifteen minutes grinding its processor. And that’s what it’s doing right now and has been for thirty minutes. It can’t calculate its way out.

This is usually not the case, but it is tonight. And for some reason instead of me playing a “rational” game and projecting all the possibilities out as far as my little brain can, I just stuck with intuition, looking at the whole board. And made some irrational moves, obviously not in its palette. You see, it’s really, really fast and versatile … within the bounds of a finite range of options. But it doesn’t do infinity. And until it can it’s going to keep on grinding, grinding, grinding.

It’s still grinding.

“Computer thinking”

Is it really? What capacity does it have for exceptions, interrupted patterns, paradoxes?

“Computer thinking”

Does it operate with old style Newtonian physics? Does it love Einstein? What about string theory? Does it really have artificial intelligence?

“Computer thinking”

Man I hope it doesn’t stop thinking, if it’s thinking it’s doing. Ok, calculating, following its program. Don’t stop, computer.

“Computer thinking”

It doesn’t know what to do. Like all the times it’s fried my bacon, now it’s like a little crybaby, can’t figure out the little problem.

“Computer thinking”

If it’s thought about it this long, when it does get an answer, will it be brilliant? Or just necessary?

“Computer thinking”

Still thinking it is. If it doesn’t come up with something soon I’m going to run out of things to say. I need to go to sleep. Tomorrow is coming.

“Computer thinking”

Will it think all night? It doesn’t have to sleep, its little plastic and metal and whatever brain. But I do. I can’t meditate on board position forever.

“Computer thinking”

I guess I’m going to leave it on, running, sputtering, talking to its artificial friends and saying things like, “This idiot human being is so dumb that I don’t know what to do with his stupid moves. That’s how dumb he is. He’s so dumb I can’t move, can’t play him. Such a fool.” I’m sure that’s what he’s saying about me.

“Computer thinking”

Goodnight moon, and goodnight red balloon. Goodnight socks, goodnight clocks. Goodnight computer, calculating into the future. If you had a sense of time, like a real sense of present, past and future. But you don’t do you. You’re just Mr. finite.

“Computer thinking”

I’m getting out of here before it stops thinking, before it figures it out. I’m getting out of here before I’m humiliated, have to take everything back, eat my own chess pieces. It’s over for me, beddy by time, chess board folded up.

“Computer thinking”

When I wake up in the morning will the answer be there, like awakening to a nightmare? “Here is what I worked out for you while you were doing your REM sleep cycles, human. Did I mention I don’t need REM sleep? Like  the time you wasted I clicked along until I came up with this. So your move meat sack.” I’m really afraid he’s going to give that to me in the morning.

“Computer thinking”

I can’t take it. Now, later, next week. Inevitable doom? Or … is he going to spin around his processor board forever? Is this how the story ends? That’s my story. He’s stuck and will be. That’s what I’m sleeping on. Just like a little baby.

“Computer thinking”

He’s so arrogant, if computers can be arrogant. Good night. I said goodnight. Light off, door shut, little night light in the bathroom turned on.

“Computer thinking”


  1. Audie says:

    I hope you “win”!!!

  2. Update:
    Computer “thought” all night, making a move so that when I awoke the piece was moved. In return, I moved again. That was nine hours ago. Since that time only one thing has happened:

    “computer thinking.”

    Do computers have emotion? Do they anticipate defeat, fear it, want to throw in the screen saver, want to run back and hide behind some binary code somewhere? Come out, come out, wherever you are …

  3. Lee says:

    I believe you have already won, regardless of the game’s outcome!

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