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Computer Chess

Friday, May 12, 2023 at 7:00 pm

Location: Bartos Screening Room

With actor Robin Schwartz and computer scientist and AI researcher Suresh Venkatasubramanian in person 

Dir. Andrew Bujalski. 2013, 92 mins. 35mm print courtesy of the Chicago Film Society. With Wiley Wiggins, Patrick Riester, Robin Schwartz, Kriss Schludermann, Tom Fletcher, Gerald Peary. Ten years ago, the influential independent filmmaker Bujalski, director of Funny Ha Ha, Mutual Appreciation, and Support the Girls, made the daring, prescient Computer Chess. Set in the 1980s at the start of the tech revolution, the film was shot entirely on a consumer-grade Sony videocamera and features meticulous production design to tell the story of a group of computer chess programmers pitting their programs against each other during a hotel convention. Over the course of the tournament, they explore their relationships to one another and the bulky machines they are masters of—but which may be capable of more than they were programmed for. With a funny, deeply weird, almost surreal tone, Bujalski’s film is a delight, providing a refreshing lens on our relationship to technology and artificial intelligence.  

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with actor Robin Schwartz, who plays the tournament’s sole woman participant, and Suresh Venkatasubramanian, Brown University’s Director of the Center for Tech Responsibility, computer scientist, and co-author of the “Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights,” discussing the evolution and social impact of AI.

Tickets: $15 / $11 senior and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / free for MoMI members at the Senior/Student level and above. Order tickets. Please pick up tickets at the Museum’s admissions desk upon arrival. All seating is general admission. Review safety protocols before your visit.