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Kasparov himself said that with Deep Blue, quantity had become quality. When you can calculate so fast and so far, you rise to another level. At some point that happened in biology. There are neurons firing in lemmings and squid, but put them together in gigantic enough numbers and fantastic enough array, as in humans--and, behold, a thought, popping up like a cartoon bubble from the brain.
We call that consciousness. Deep Blue is not there yet, though one day we will be tempted to ask him. In the meantime he's done alchemy, turning quantity into quality. That in itself is scary.
At least to me. However, my son, age 10, who lives as comfortably with his computer as he does with his dog, was rooting for Deep Blue all along. "What are you worried about, Dad?" he says. "After all, we made the machine, didn't we? So we're just beating ourselves."
The next generation has gone over to Them. No need to wait for the rematch. It's over.
--With reporting by William Dowell/Philadelphia