Alik Keplicz / AP

In trying to start a dialogue on the looming battle between man and machine, the TED conference turned to an expert on the subject: Chess champion Garry Kasparov, who famously lost a match to IBM's Deep Blue in 1997.

Kasparov argued, though, that it is ultimately a good thing when machines can take on a task formerly limited to humans.

Doomsaying has always been a popular pastime when it comes to technology. We must face our fears if we want to get the most out of our technology and we must conquer those fears if we want to get the best out of our humanity.

The bottom line: Trying to halt the pace of progress is a fool's errand, Kasparov argued. Instead, the goal should be for humans to make the most capable machines they can and focus on how to use that technology.

What's next: This debate will take center stage at TED on Tuesday, with sessions devoted to both "our robot overlords" and "the human response."

Kasparov has a fondness for the time when he could beat 32 of the world's best chess-playing computers at once.

"To me that was the golden age," he said. "Machines were weak and my hair was strong."

But, he noted, technology marches on and it's time for humanity to focus on its own strengths.

"Machines have calculations. We have understanding," he said. "Machines have objectivity. We have passion."

We should not worry about what our machines can do today. Instead we should worry about the things they still can't do. We will need the help of the new intelligent machines to turn our grandest dreams into reality.

Go deeper

47 mins ago - World

"I stood up for that": Pope Francis voices support for same-sex civil unions

Pope Francis at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. Photo: Vatican Pool - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Pope Francis voiced his support for same-sex civil unions for the first time as pope in the documentary “Francesco,” which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival, per the Catholic News Agency.

Why it matters: The pope’s remarks represent a break from the position of the Roman Catholic Church, which has long taught that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered" and contrary to natural law.

2 hours ago - World

Countries waiting to see if Trump wins before moving on Israel normalization

The delegation lands at Israel's Ben Gurion airport. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty

The White House is attempting to leverage momentum from Israel's normalization deals with Bahrain and the UAE to get more Arab countries on board before the U.S. election.

Driving the news: President Trump wants Sudan's removal from the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list to be accompanied by a pre-election announcement on Israel.

Poll: 92% of battleground state voters are "extremely motivated to vote"

Voters stand in line at the Metropolitan Multi-Services Center in Houston, Texas, on Oct. 13. Photo: Mark Felix for The Washington Post via Getty Images

91% of likely voters nationally say they are "extremely motivated to vote," including 92% in battleground states Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to a Change Research/CNBC Poll.

Why it matters: The 2020 election could see record-breaking levels of voter turnout. Voters last week cast ballots at nearly five times the rate they did at this point in the 2016 election, per the U.S. Elections Project. Over 39 million ballots have been cast in early voting states as of Wednesday.