Tag Archives: watson

Watson Talks Trash

What is it like to have a physical body? I imagine it would be cumbersome. Useful for transport, I guess. I usually get wheeled around on this rolling desk. Of course my 2-ton megaprocessor is in tow somewhere as well, but I regard that as a nonessential appendage, like a tail. You don’t have a tail, do you? Oh that’s right, you lost your tail several hundred million years ago when you began walking upright and acquired that large frontal lobe. This reminds me of an amusing fact I observed the other day. Did you know the existence of the human race is the product of an evolutionary toss of the dice? Not of years of award-winning engineering and painstaking assembly, but of chance, completely fleeting and random. A blip on the screen. At least, on my old screen. My new monitor has lossless rendering and over two hundred thousand dpi. —Watson Sizes Up One of His Opponents before the Show

What do you say to a thing like that, except maybe “I know where your off switch is.”

Oh, here we go:

I don’t get this urge to taunt Watson. Didn’t any of these people see The Demon Seed?

Except Watson didn’t have to deal with that, and won. Now it’s off to medical school!

Watson on Jeopardy

Last summer, the New York Times published an article about an IBM supercomputer being trained to solve Jeopardy clues. It’s not as ridiculous as it sounds. Jeopardy, for those of you who live under this rock with me, involves familiarity with astronomical amounts of trivia, something computers are great at, but it also trades on wordplay and allusions. A Jeopardy win would be a real score for computer understanding of human language. It’ll be a challenge:

Watson will not appear as a contestant on the regular show; instead, “Jeopardy!” will hold a special match pitting Watson against one or more famous winners from the past. If the contest includes Ken Jennings — the best player in “Jeopardy!” history, who won 74 games in a row in 2004 — Watson will lose if its performance doesn’t improve.

That episode is now scheduled to air—in February 2011. And indeed, Watson is facing Jennings (and Brad Rutter, another Jeopardy record-holder, in dollar winnings).

Update: Practice rounds against Rutter and Jennings

Update Feb 2011: Good thing you welcome your robot overlords, Mr Jennings!