Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine 2003 ★★★

“The great Russian champion was not a graceful loser,” is said more than once in this documentary, but never really shown, highlighting two of the movie’s big problems: unnecessary sensationalism, and throwing things at the audience while expecting us to take them at face value.

No, the future of humanity wasn’t really on the line during the overhyped 1997 Kasparov–Deep Blue match. It was an interesting event, though, and it deserves a more fair and better-researched documentary.

Here, the main premise is that something was fishy in that famous game – namely, did a human being illegally help Deep Blue? But the suspicions are meek at best, IBM never has a chance to defend itself, and the documentary employs all the conspiracy report clichés: whispering voices, X-Files-inspired music, weird camera angles, even revisiting some places Ghost Hunters-style. It makes it all feel very untrustworthy, kind of like Mother from Sneakers telling you about the Moon landing: first-class entertainment, to be sure, but you’ll hit other sources for factual information.

We’re going to witness more of those kind of milestones in our lives: first self-driving cars, first fully automated surgery, you name it. The future is now. The electric brains are here to stay. We need people to be as critical about those events as possible. But it’s not paranoia if it’s only editor making things look like one.

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