THE ELECTRONIC HOLY WAR Crazy Stone defeated Yoshio Ishida, a professional Go player

In May, 1997, I.B.M.’s Deep Blue supercomputer prevailed over Garry Kasparov in a series of six chess games, becoming the first computer to defeat a world-champion chess player. Two months later, the Times offered machines another challenge on behalf of a wounded humanity: the two-thousand-year-old Chinese board game wei qi, known in the West as Go. The article said that computers had little chance of success: “It may be a hundred years before a computer beats humans at Go—maybe even longer.”

Last March, sixteen years later, a computer program named Crazy Stone defeated Yoshio Ishida, a professional Go player and a five-time Japanese champion. The match took place during the first annual Densei-sen, or “electronic holy war,” tournament, in Tokyo, where the best Go programs in the world play against one of the best humans. Ishida, who earned the nickname “the Computer” in the nineteen-seventies because of his exact and calculated playing style, described Crazy Stone as “genius.”

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Why is #WallStreet so divorced from reality? A psychological explanation. @ryanlcooper

Noah Smith and Paul Krugman have both noted the strange fact that the financial class, almost across the board, continues to argue for more austerity and a tighter monetary policy, despite the adverse effects these policies could have on the economy as a whole. This kind of blinkered thinking is a hallmark of the 1 percent, which compared to the rest of the country is obsessed with deficit reduction and cutting social insurance.

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Meet the #Fed’s new intellectual powerhouse

Janet Yellen led her first monetary policy meeting as chair last week. But with Yellen’s emphasis so far on consensus and continuity, the key news from the Fed last week wasn’t anything Janet Yellen said, but what Federal Reserve Board Governor Jeremy Stein said at the International Research Forum on Monetary Policy on Mar. 21.


Jeremy Stein is currently the junior member of the Federal Reserve Board, having served only since May 30, 2012. (Several recent nominees to the Federal Reserve Board have yet to be approved.) But with Ben Bernanke’s departure, Stein now has the most distinguished academic record of anyone currently making decisions about US monetary policy. His background as a Harvard Professor of Economics and former President of the American Finance Association shows. He holds office hours for staff at the Federal Reserve Board, and from the half hour that I once spent with him, I can say that he stands ready to debate the fine points of economic models with anyone. In his speech last Friday, Governor Stein showed how much genuine light an academic approach can shed on practical monetary policy questions in the right hands.

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