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Watson, come here. I want you.

The above words were supposedly the first spoken over the telephone. But Watson is also the name of the IBM supercomputer currently competing in a Jeopardy tournament against human champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. The tournament started last night and continues through Wednesday.

Tune in to ABC tonight if you want to see something that comes pretty damn close to a limited form of artificial intelligence. As someone who has written AIs as characters, I figure it's almost my duty to watch, and I plan to post about it after the tournament is over.

You can play along and see if you could beat Watson. So far, he's (it's?) tied for first place.

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 16th, 2011 01:26 am (UTC)
The real question for me is when Watson (and predecessor Deep Blue) lead to a true form of AI. Of course, it's all a matter of a program doing what it was programmed to do, but the learning and adjusting is the real trick.

Go Ken. I'm not ready to be obsolete yet.
Feb. 16th, 2011 01:35 am (UTC)
Ken is having a hard time, mostly because of the buzzer issue. I think Watson is a sort of one dimensional intelligence. He can't really think, but he can solve (sometimes) the problem of what fact are you looking for when you ask that question. And he is able to retrieve a lot of facts.

p.s. both humans got the final jeopardy answer. Watson didn't, but he is still WAY ahead.

Edited at 2011-02-16 01:36 am (UTC)
Feb. 16th, 2011 07:40 am (UTC)
Who do you think would win if Watson played Deep Blue?

Yeah, I know that one is programmed for one particular area, but there will come a point where they start combining the knowledge the various computers have.

One system will maximize its knowledge in a given area, then gain the knowledge from other systems.
Feb. 16th, 2011 11:07 am (UTC)
Well, the knowledge is different than what we think of it. If you think of memorization and regurgitation, that's what Watson does. It recognizes turns of phrase to search databases for the right information. If the information is there, it will find it.

Deep Blue was a rule and move cruncher; you put enough processes together and it would analyze every chess move of every game it had been programmed with to formulate a strategy. If you try something completely new with Deep Blue, it would have issues.

Either way, neither machine is able to create a new piece of knowledge by guessing or a "eureka" moment. Right now, there simply isn't the capability for a computer to rewire itself with the accumulation of new knowledge.
Feb. 16th, 2011 12:46 pm (UTC)
>,,, the capability for a computer to rewire itself with the accumulation of new knowledge.

Which, if you think about it, is a good description of the human brain in infancy.
Feb. 16th, 2011 12:45 pm (UTC)
Well, that is a question! They would have to give Deep Blue a tutorial on trivia, and a buzzer pushing device. I wonder if Watson would be any good at chess?
Feb. 16th, 2011 07:42 am (UTC)
My sister had brought this up, which they never talk about SF type events, and now I see that you've mentioned it here.

I'll have to check it out and see what it's all about.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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