In April of 1968, a computer beat a human being for the first time, albeit on movie screens. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL 9000, the first in a series of increasingly unstable artificial intelligence systems, was not content to beat the astronaut Frank Poole at chess. A few minutes later, HAL killed him, along with a group of other people who were hibernating in the spaceship. However, the sole survivor managed to deactivate the computer by making it regress to childhood, thus temporarily winning the war between man and machine. HAL was the first example of a psychotic computer appearing in the movies. It was then followed by increasingly humanoid machines such as the replicants in Blade Runner, or Ava in Ex Machina, tending toward both self-determination and schizophrenia as well as an irresistible and sometimes understandable aversion to the human species.
Over the last two decades, fiction has transferred from the screen to become reality. IBM's Deep Blue broke the ice with chess. Like HAL which had replicated the Roesch-Schlage match of 1910 but had cheated, calling checkmate early when it could have been avoided, in 1997 Deep Blue also took advantage of our fragile psychology. At the end of the first match – lost to Garry Kasparov – Deep Blue made a move that was assessed by most as useless and illogical. The Georgian champion's post-match analysis showed that move 44 pointed to a capacity for calculation impossible even for a grandmaster. The move was also extraordinary for a new-generation computer, resulting in a potential checkmate only 20 moves later. But that move, first misunderstood then celebrated, had been the result of a random choice that the PC made when the program joined the match. At that point, poor Kasparov gave up the challenge before even starting to play. In other words, he had appreciated his own finite nature. He conceded the second game, which could have resulted in a draw just like with Poole, and he made other simple mistakes before losing in the sixth match in only 19 moves, his shortest defeat.