What’s next in AI?

Because humans and computers “think” so differently, it will be a long time before a computer makes a medical diagnosis, for example, all by itself, or handles a problem like designing residences for people as they age and want to remain in their homes, Campbell said. Deep Blue showed the capabilities of a computer geared to a certain task, but to date, nobody has made a generalized machine learning system that works as well as a purpose-built computer.

For example, computers can be very good at crunching lots of data and finding patterns that humans would miss. They can then make that information available to humans to make decisions. “A complementary system is better than a human or machine,” Campbell said.

It’s also probably time to tackle different problems, he said. Board games like chess or Go allow players to know everything about their opponent’s position; this is called a complete information game. Real-world problems are not like that. “A lesson we should have learned by now… There’s not that much more that we can learn from board games.” (In 2017, the artificially intelligent computer program called Libratus beat the best human poker players in a 20-day No-Limit Texas Hold ’em tournament, which is considered a game of incomplete information.)

As for Deep Blue’s fate, the computer was dismantled after the historic match with Kasparov; components of it are on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., and the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.