In the last chapter we discussed chess-playing electronic computers which obey instructions in much the same way: after each move they play mouse and traverse all the ways open to them. There are also automatic calculators that play Nine Mens Morris in this way and moreover learn something more in every game. (Do you know Nine Men's Morris? It is a game played on a draught or checkerboard with black and white pieces.) They note the course of the games in their storage cells, remember the most successful moves - the ones that cost an opponent many pieces or led them directiy to victory - and apply them again in similar situations. They "learn by success."
Checkerboard games are in general two-dimensional affairs, moving on a plane, but I.B.M. has programmed a strange three-dimensional Nine Men's Morris game for its computers, a sort of "Space Morris" in which the machines can beat practically every human opponent. A three-dimensional game is something so bizarre that mere human intellect is no longer capable of grappling with it.
I.B.M. in America (and the Russians) have developed a fully functioning teachable chess-playing machine which can give battle to a chess-master. The chess-computer plays at first slowly and clumsily, but afterwards - as it has learned more elegant combinations from good players - better and better, more and more brilliantly. The machine can never defeat its programmer, however. A checker-playing program on a machine has been devised which can and does defeat its programmer.