Watson: The Smartest Machine on Earth

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by RawBert, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. RawBert macrumors 68000

    RawBert

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    #1
    One of my favorite shows, NOVA, has made an episode on IBM's 'Watson' supercomputer and its road to competing on Jeopardy! - and it's AMAZING!

    There have been several posts in a Jeopardy! thread in the Current Events forum about Watson. But it's Watson! And "The Smartest Machine on Earth" should have its own thread.

    The technology used to develop it and what it all means to the future of the computer industry is very exciting and this show should be watched by anyone interested in that.

    The NOVA special does not have spoilers about who won the challenge.
    Please don't post spoilers about the Jeopardy! taping if you already know the outcome.


    Watch online: NOVA - Smartest Machine on Earth

    Watch on iPad: PBS for iPad App

    The Watson vs Ken Jennings vs Brad Rutter Jeopardy! Challenge will air on February 14-16.

    Yo, it's gonna be tha bomb, dawg!
     
  2. karsten macrumors 6502a

    karsten

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    #2
    thanks for the nova link i'll have to check that out:) props to ibm for doing research like this.
     
  3. appleguy123 macrumors 603

    appleguy123

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    #3
    I can't wait for it to get smaller and recognize speech. It would stop a lot of arguments over whats true in my family.
    Also, last night i had a weird dream about Watson. You could ask him questions about the future and he'll answer them. I asked him what number would roll on the dice and he predicted it.
     
  4. RawBert thread starter macrumors 68000

    RawBert

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    #4
    ^^^ Cool dream. :D

    The first round tonight was AWESOME! At first, I thought Watson would dominate the whole game. But the guys came back quick. What a match!!! :eek:
     
  5. talkingfuture macrumors 65816

    talkingfuture

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    #5
    It will be impressive when we reach the point where something that powerful can be built into a laptop or even a phone - like having a digital assistant to help you out!
     
  6. talkingfuture macrumors 65816

    talkingfuture

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    #6
  7. Xeperu macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Watson is nothing more than an exercise in speed reading and statistical database word crossmatching. Impressive, yes, smart, no.

    Next time it might also be fair game to get the computer not know the entire question before the contestants get the entire sentence.

    Also, US city > Toronto ?

    Nothing "smart" about this.
     
  8. AppleScruff1 macrumors G3

    AppleScruff1

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    #8
    I'm sure you could design something better.
     
  9. Xeperu macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Most. Ridiculous. Comment. Ever.

    Please do tell me where I claimed or even vaguely referred to my ability to create something like Watson.

    I even mentioned I was quite impressed by the computational power of Watson, but is Watson smart? Not at all.

    Judging from your inane comment it's maybe as smart as you, but then again, you wouldn't possess the vast database of knowledge Watson has.

    It's like with Deep Blue and chess. Maybe a rematch where Deep Blue was restricted to say, thinking 200 moves ahead, like the best human chess players do would be a more realistic match. Being able to crush a million moves ahead and knowing the exact statistical chance of each move is not "intelligence".

    Matches against computers currently have not much to do with "intelligence" on the machine side, but more with pure raw statistics. Thats why Watson made many stupid, stupid mistakes.
     
  10. karsten macrumors 6502a

    karsten

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    #10
    yes but if you say that the best human chess players can think 200 moves ahead and that is the measure of intelligence then isn't a machine that can think ahead thousands of moves therefore defined to be more intelligent?
     
  11. Mousse macrumors 68000

    Mousse

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    #11
    Sign me up for one once one comes out. Who knows, I might be right in a argument with the missus for once.:rolleyes:
     
  12. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #12
    If that is your measure of intelligence, then sure. But that is a very, very narrow measure and it only applies in very limited circumstances. Chess is a game tightly bound by logical rules and a limited game board (64 squares). Yet humans become good at chess by strategizing, not by memorizing moves. We do things like predict what the opponent is going to do, we can do psychological tricks like making moves that capitalize on the opponent's greed, stuff like that. We are doing more than simply looking ahead at the next X possible variations of the game and choosing the most optimal path.

    That kind of processing works when there are limited options, but fails with open-ended scenarios (such as trivia question and answer).

    When I ask you a trivia question you don't need to expend processing power trying to sort through thousands of possible interpretations of the question and then performing a statistical analysis to determine which is the most probable. Or maybe you do, but your brain does all kinds of filtering and association automatically and instantly. This is something that computers can't do yet. They can simulate it by essentially brute-forcing the answer so quickly that it seems like they're thinking, but they're not. Yet.

    Watson has incredible natural language processing and data search abilities, and it looks like a fair bit of semantic knowledge processing. It's impressive, absolutely. But is it intelligent? No.
     
  13. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #13
    Q: What's the meaning of life?
    Watson: 42
     
  14. AppleScruff1 macrumors G3

    AppleScruff1

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    #14
    Of course a computer isn't smart, it's not human. And I'm sure that Watson has far more knowledge in his servers than I ever will. If you want to read ridiculous comments, check out the other forums here.
     
  15. Xeperu macrumors 6502

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    #15
    I think you'd be surprised how much knowledge the human brain can store. The problem is specific data access. Recalling "memories" is something that has been a basic task of computers for decades.
     
  16. AppleScruff1 macrumors G3

    AppleScruff1

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    #16
    I know that the brain can store an enormous amount of information, but wasn't Watson programmed with the equivalent of over 1 million books? I've read a lot my entire life, but nowhere close to that. Getting back to Jeopardy, I think there were several questions when Ken knew the answer immediately but Watson beat him on the buzz in. You could see how frustrated he was getting as the computer hit the button precisely time after time. The humans had no chance on the reflex end of it. In that way it really wasn't fair as the machine could do it over and over again.

    I really enjoyed watching and I did some reading about the Watson project on my own too. What impresses me the most is the humans that created this lighting fast machine. I hope it gets put to good use helping people.
     

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