Apr 19, 2022
Checkers. Backgammon. Chess. Go. Poker. Scrabble. Bridge. These
seven games, ancient and modern, fascinate millions of people
worldwide. In his book Seven Games, game theorist Oliver
Roeder charts their origins and historical importance, the
delightful arcana of their rules, and the ways their design makes
Roeder introduces thrilling competitors, such as evangelical minister Marion Tinsley, who across forty years lost only three games of checkers; Shusai, the Master, the last Go champion of imperial Japan, defending tradition against “modern rationalism”; and an IBM engineer who created a backgammon program so capable at self-learning that NASA used it on the space shuttle. He delves into the history and lore of each game: backgammon boards in ancient Egypt, the Indian origins of chess, and how certain shells from a particular beach in Japan make the finest white Go stones.
Beyond the cultural and personal stories, Roeder explores why games, seemingly trivial pastimes, speak so deeply to the human soul. He tells the compelling story of how humans, pursuing scientific glory and competitive advantage, have invented AI programs better than any human player, and what that means for the games—and for us. Funny, fascinating, and profound, Seven Games is a story of obsession, psychology, history, and how play makes us human.
Moderated by Matt Bongiovi.
Visit http://g.co/TalksAtGoogle/SevenGames to watch the video.