Kasparov on Russia, Ukraine and AI

by ChessBase
5/15/2023 – Former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov sat down with Forbes Assistant Managing Editor Diane Brady at the 2023 Milken Institute Global Conference to discuss topics from Russia's invasion of Ukraine to the growing concern over artificial intelligence. The interview has been viewed 100,000 times – " I found myself agreeing with almost everything that he said. What I found most enlightening was his stance on AI," commented Bob Fomenko.

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Forbes interviews Garry Kasparov on the War in Ukraine 

Former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov sat down with Forbes Assistant Managing Editor Diane Brady at the 2023 Milken Institute Global Conference to discuss topics from Russia's invasion of Ukraine to the growing concern over artificial intelligence.

I believe Ukraine will win the war, but I'm very cautious about being optimistic because most of the Russian attacks conducted at night to maximize casualties among civilians.

Dictators always lie about what they have done, but very often they tell us exactly what they're going to do. Putin was very open about his ideas his dream to restore Soviet Empire. He bluntly told the leaders of the free world that NATO must go back to 1997 borders...

Ninety plus percent of the Ukrainian people, despite all the suffering and bloodshed, are willing to fight to to restore the territory integrity and sovereignty of their country.

This war will not end as long as Putin stays in power, because he has burned all the bridges. He will continue as long as he has resources... Only liberation of Crimea will start the liberation of Russia from Putin's fascism.

I'm annoyed to see that the Free World is delaying the supply of weapons badly needed for Ukraine to win the war. It's not just about Ukraine, but the whole of Europe.

Michael Khodorkovsky a very good friend and ally. We're working together, trying to offer our country a chance to come back to the family of civilized nations. The great Boris Nemtsov was killed in 2015 in front of Kremlin. Russia has thousands of political prisoners, people get arrested almost every day, now for a tweet. Recently a women was arrested for making a sign on a cake in blue and yellow... 

I grew up in the Soviet Union, and chess champions were very important. I was the youngest world champion and also a rebel, because I had to fight Anatoly Karpov, the darling of the system. I grew up in a family where I got an education that helped me to understand the deficiencies of the Soviet system. I learned from my late mother that it's not just about winning the game, it's about making a difference.

I joined the nascent pro-democracy movement back in 1987-88, but only in the beginning of the 21st century I decided that it would be time for me to actually shift from professional chess. I was approaching 40, and I thought time to do something else where I could have a chance of making a difference again.

America that had a very clear plan from 1946 from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan on how to fight communism. All of a sudden, the Soviet Union was gone and America lost its sense of leadership. It was still the strongest, the richest and most powerful democracy in the world, but it stopped offering a vision for the future. When there's a vacuum somebody else comes in, all sorts of guys benefit from the lack of the resolve.

Forbes assistant managing editor Diane Brady interviewed Garry Kasparov

Russia is still an empire. While the Soviet Union collapsed, the Russian Federation still preserves the Imperial structure, with an all-powerful center and various regions. I see my role as working with people like Michael Khodorkovsky and others to re-establish Russia's position in the world. Russia will not survive in its current geographical borders. The biggest challenge will be the looming threat from China. China looks at Russia as its colony. While we're talking about pieces of land in Crimea or in Donbas, China has an official claim for Russian territory of 1.5 million square kilometres, based on a gap between two treaties between the Russian Kingdom in 1685 and the Russian Empire in China in 1860 when Russia forced China to give up territories. Recently they resurrected the claim. My hope is that in Russia many recognize that the challenge to Russia comes from the east not from the west.

Regarding cyber attacks from Russia: I spend six years working with Avast Software and learned a lot about these wars. They're real, but at the end of the day every war ends up on a battlefield, so it is a hybrid war, it's a prelude for a much bigger challenge. We still have a huge advantage, a technological edge, over any other country, including China. For those who say China is too powerful, how can we challenge them?

We're at this tipping point where people see the potential and now there's also seeing a very real threat. I'm an optimist, more likely I'm a realist, because I just believe AI ia another technology, and you know in the past new technology always made us stronger and faster. This technology in my view has to make us smarter, but we just have to recognize that every coin has two sides. From history we also know that every breakthrough technology was first used for destruction, because it's easier it's easier to destroy than to build.

Yes, by destroying jobs and industries, AI creates new industries. It's about refocusing our attention and looking for opportunities. I believe we have to re re-evaluate our relations with computers as they become more and more powerful, but still there's a room for human creativity. Why not to use these machines to realize our wild dreams? My concern is that the Putins of this world having their hands on technology and using it against us if we get complacent.

Do I still play chess? Depends on the definition of the word play, I know how to move the pieces, I enjoy it immensely. But for me, play means being a professional. I'm an amateur, I'm the strongest chess amateur on the planet.

Russia is one of the leading countries but no longer the strongest. The United States now it has one of the most promising fields of young players. I can proudly say that is because the Kasparov Foundation made big contributions since 2002. We started our programs in this country with an academy for young stars. There are 20 grandmasters who graduated from our program. America is now easily one of the one of the top countries in chess development.

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