I new Overlords!

As many of you many know, a computer was allowed to compete on Jeopardy.  The IBM super computer named “Watson” competed to prove computers are smarter than humans… or at least have faster reflexes.

Watson literally systematically took down the two best past human Jeopardy champions with a final score of $77,147 to Ken Jennings’ score of $24,000 and Brad Rutter’s final score of $21,600. In defeat, human 01943 and human 01944 (I just imagine that is how Watson will refer to them at the upcoming charity even) finished the show saving face with humor.  At least we humans still have that to hold on to until Watson gets his Richard Pryor upgrade.

Watson’s win earns him $1 million which he plans to donate to charity. I am not sure if a computer can legally have that much money or be counted as a charity donor, but I wouldn’t care if he gave me $1 million. As you can tell I am with Engadget as I am not sure how to take this news.

It’s very apparent IBM’s DeepQA research program has developed a sophisticated natural language AI capable of turning mostly high school trivia questions into a joke. On the other hand, the human contestants often knew the answers to the questions, but just weren’t fast enough to the button as Watson. As a guy deeply into computers, I see software with well-designed search algorithms and word association sub-programs proving to the average person that computer A.I. has come a long way. I don’t see a computer being as intelligent as a human being.

For those who want to know, Watson has 2880 CPU cores and 15 TB of RAM. While not as impressive as other super computers, you have to take into account that Watson deals only with text. It runs software designed for years to understand human language. Can you imagine how much information is actually being loaded into Watson’s 15 terabytes of RAM to ensure he can get to the data as fast as possible?

It was also very entertaining to watch Watson show off his “verbal skills” to provide Jeopardy unintentional humor more often than any previous guest. There have been a few Jeopardy moments to be endlessly watched on YouTube, but they all pale in comparison to hearing a multi-million dollar computer say “Lets finish Chicks Dig Me.”

Our future computer overlords are far from being an A.I. on par with the movie versions of them. Watson, Pandora suggestion algorithm, and Wolfran Alpha can do their respective single tasks to an impressive (sometimes creepy) level; on the other hand, they are far from HAL 9000.

I do believe, though, Watson will be useful to IBM as their computer sidekick helping them solve real world issues… I just figured out why they didn’t name him Holmes!

Source: Engadget

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