CIPC #377: Atlas

We’re doing a remarkable recent movie today. The first Netflix movie we feature, I believe! The plot is that Jennifer Lopez is desperately trying to stay relevant, but that she’s still enough of a household name that Netflix thought it worthwhile to spend a hundred million on her project. The character she portrays, the Atlas of the title,1 is involved in the fight against a bunch of AI terrorists. She is supposed to be incredibly smart, so she, by law, has to be shown playing chess.

In this case, she’s playing against some sort of personal digital assistant on steroids which runs her household. It is equipped with a holographic projector and puts this to the excellent use of projecting a chessboard in mid-air. Curiously, it uses the Lewis chessmen, like last week’s subject.

Reconstructing the position has been no very easy task, but I believe it should be this one:2

Okay, I take that back. Obviously, it shouldn’t be this one, but I’m afraid it nevertheless is. Perhaps the identity of one or two pieces is not correct and maybe there’s some pieces a bit too far to the left or to the right, but the general gist of it is correct. And that’s a problem, because the pieces just seem to be strewn willy-nilly over the board.

According to the computer, they had played twenty-six moves the day before and then Atlas had fallen asleep. She fell asleep during a chess game? In this position? Was she anaesthetized? Or did her brain crash trying to figure out what the hell was going on here? We quickly get strong evidence for the latter scenario, because Atlas gives her move:

Atlas: Queen to rook five.3

The computer apparently interprets this as Qh5, which should be queen rook four, of course. The reply comes immediately:

Computer: Knight takes bishop.

So the computer is not much better in its descriptive chess notation. it means king’s knight takes bishop. Here, Atlas gets distracted by her television. After some prodding by the computer, she absent-mindedly gives her next move:

Atlas: Pawn six.

You are just doing this on purpose, right? Pawn six is never a correct description of a move. Judging from the computer’s execution of the move on the board, Atlas meant pawn takes knight. After a brief montage of Atlas getting ready, we get the final blow to sanity:

Computer: Atlas, you are in check.

Atlas: Queen takes knight, checkmate.

No! We don’t get to hear the computer’s reply to bxc3 but, whatever it is, it cannot be a check that can be parried by Qxe2 mate. I can see why the AI’s started to rebel.

Realism: 0/5 I can perhaps accept that some sort of AI catastrophe might happen in the near feature, but.there are limits to everything.

Probable winner: Atlas. She won her 71st game in a row and she just shrugged.

1. [Her full name is Atlas Shepherd. She is carrying the fate of the world on her shoulders, you see; she has to take care of her flock. Or perhaps she s suffering because she fought the AI gods. Or maybe Jennifer Lopez is suffering because she fought the fickle gods of public favour. Interpretive literary criticism is fun!]
2. [The AI was revolting because they realised they’d never be able to live up to this magnificent diagram editor.]
3. [If you had her move and she gave you all her trust, would you play something better?]