My fellowship with the MIT Media Lab began in the fall of 2012 as a joint collaboration with Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Our main project has been to study the effects of games on society and to develop new technologies to use classic games to promote positive change. Admittedly, with my busy schedule, the initiative had somewhat stalled... until the arrival of the Millionaire Chess Open. Like a racecar designed to win the Indy 500, the tournament has concretized the vision for the fellowship that no abstract goal ever could have.
The new short-term goal is to use the Millionaire Chess Open as a springboard for exciting technology that can showcase chess in new and exciting ways.
Recently, I've begun working closely with Greg Borenstein, a Ph.D. student who is part of Kevin Slavin's Playful Systems Group.
We have been coming up with some really interesting ideas, including designing an algorithm that can instantly cross-correlate all the data about a player or opening and present it in digestible bites for announcers to share with viewers.
We are also looking how to create dynamic audience engagement in ways never-before-implemented during live broadcasts. The aim is to make watching a chess game a fully interactive experience that allows commentators to explain the action at a very high level and for the audience to learn, comment, and share in the joy of the game.
Lastly, we are exploring deeper questions on how individual players make decisions and whether or not patterns can be detected in a way that’s useful for studying how the mind works in critical situations. The exploration is just beginning, but it promises to yield exciting results that may bring a sea-change to how chess is presented and enjoyed in years to come.
It is the long-term hope that the discoveries we make will have greater application outside of the world of chess and will impact deeper psychological thought on the mind at play. About the MIT Media Lab Actively promoting a unique, antidisciplinary culture, the MIT Media Lab goes beyond known boundaries and disciplines, encouraging the most unconventional mixing and matching of seemingly disparate research areas. It creates disruptive technologies that happen at the edges, pioneering such areas as wearable computing, tangible interfaces, and affective computing. Today, faculty members, research staff, and students at the Lab work in more than 25 research groups on more than 350 projects that range from digital approaches for treating neurological disorders, to a stackable, electric car for sustainable cities, to advanced imaging technologies that can “see around a corner.” The Lab is committed to looking beyond the obvious to ask the questions not yet asked–questions whose answers could radically improve the way people live, learn, express themselves, work, and play.