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On the Impact of Information Technologies on Society: an Historical Perspective through the Game of Chess

10 pagesPublished: June 22, 2012


The game of chess as always been viewed as an iconic representation
of intellectual prowess. Since the very beginning of computer
science, the challenge of being able to program a computer capable
of playing chess and beating humans has been alive and used both as
a mark to measure hardware/software progresses and as an ongoing
programming challenge leading to numerous discoveries. In the early
days of computer science it was a topic for specialists. But as
computers were democratized, and the strength of chess engines
began to increase, chess players started to appropriate to
themselves these new tools. We show how these interactions between
the world of chess and information technologies have been herald of
broader social impacts of information technologies. The game of
chess, and more broadly the world of chess (chess players,
literature, computer softwares and websites dedicated to chess,
etc.), turns out to be a surprisingly and particularly sharp
indicator of the changes induced in our everyday life by the
information technologies. Moreover, in the same way that chess is a
modelization of war that captures the raw features of strategic
thinking, chess world can be seen as small society making the study
of the information technologies impact easier to analyze and to

Keyphrases: computer chess, computer science history, social impact of information technology

In: Andrei Voronkov (editor). Turing-100. The Alan Turing Centenary, vol 10, pages 268--277

BibTeX entry
  author    = {Frederic Prost},
  title     = {On the Impact of Information Technologies on Society: an Historical Perspective through the Game of Chess},
  booktitle = {Turing-100. The Alan Turing Centenary},
  editor    = {Andrei Voronkov},
  series    = {EPiC Series in Computing},
  volume    = {10},
  pages     = {268--277},
  year      = {2012},
  publisher = {EasyChair},
  bibsource = {EasyChair,},
  issn      = {2398-7340},
  url       = {},
  doi       = {10.29007/gs6m}}
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