Monday 1 June 2020

A Prisoner's Dilemma

I previously posted about a chess themed episode of The Prisoner (post is here), and I was thinking about it again this week.
In the episode "Checkmate", No. 6 worked out a way of detecting who were guards masquerading as prisoners, and who were genuine prisoners. Anyone who treated him as an authority figure was a genuine prisoner, while anyone who did not was obviously a guard. This worked up until he tried to escape, when he was betrayed by a confederate, who applied to same test to No. 6, and decided that as the person leading the group (of 2), he was obviously a guard as well.
Where this applies to chess is in the field of online engine use. As everyone is disguised by anonymity, how can we be sure we are playing a human or a machine? Taking a leaf out of Patrick McGoohan's book, as we know we aren't an engine, then anyone we beat isn't one either. However, anyone that beats us immediately falls under suspicion. This suspicion is magnified if they are a lower rated player, although out opponents may only have high ratings *because* they are machines.
As they say in the classics "Wake up sheeple!"

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