The Bots Beat Us. Now What?

In the summer of 1977, Bobby Fischer was in self-imposed exile in Pasadena, California. The greatest chess player on Earth at the time, Fischer had joined an apocalyptic cult and covered the windows of his grungy apartment with tinfoil. Russian secret police and Israeli intelligence, he insisted, could spy on him through his dental fillings and influence him with radioactive signals. He hadn’t played a recorded game of chess for five years, since defeating Boris Spassky and the Soviet machine in the match of the century in Reykjavik, Iceland, capturing the world championship and becoming an American Cold War hero. Nevertheless, gripped by paranoia and hidden away from the rest of the world, Fischer wrote letters. He sent two, never before published, to a Carnegie Mellon professor and computer scientist…

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