CAN MACHINES THINK?

MAYBE SO, AS DEEP BLUE'S CHESS PROWESS SUGGESTS. AND THAT SPARKS A FRESH DEBATE ABOUT THE NATURE OF MIND. IS IT JUST NEURONS?

WHEN GARRY KASPAROV FACED OFF AGAINST AN IBM COMPUTER in last month's celebrated chess match, he wasn't just after more fame and money. By his own account, the world chess champion was playing for you, me, the whole human species. He was trying, as he put it shortly before the match, to "help defend our dignity."

Nice of him to offer. But if human dignity has much to do with chess mastery, then most of us are so abject that not even Kasparov can save us. If we must vest the honor of our species in some quintessentially human feat...

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