IBM's Watson victorious in Jeopardy; Our new computer overlord?

IBM's Watson victorious in Jeopardy; Our new computer overlord?

Summary: Ken Jennings foreshadowed the inevitable with his final Jeopardy answer. The answer: Bram Stoker. The subtext: "I for one welcome our new computer overlords."

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TOPICS: IBM, CXO, Hardware
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IBM's Watson computer ultimately proved to be too much for the humans in Jeopardy.

Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, two of the most successful players in Jeopardy, put up a spirited fight, but ultimately couldn't hang. Jennings foreshadowed the inevitable with his final Jeopardy answer. The answer: Bram Stoker. The subtext: "I for one welcome our new computer overlords."

The two day totals highlighted the extent of the victory for Watson.

  • IBM's Watson had $77,147 at the end of two days.
  • Jennings had $24,000.
  • Rutter rounded out the festivities with $21,600.

Heading into the final Jeopardy round it appeared that Jennings had some momentum. But then Watson won a flurry of questions that appeared to suck the momentum out of Jennings.

The final Jeopardy category was 19th century novelists.

And the answer: William Wilkinson's "An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia" inspired this author's most famous novel.

The question---all three contestants got right---was Who is Bram Stoker? The ever-precise Watson wagered $17,973.

In the end, Watson was a natural on Jeopardy. It was even likeable with his quirks---very precise wagers and a robotic voice. If Watson is ultimately our computer overlord he at least seems jovial.

Related: IBM's Watson wins Jeopardy practice round: Can humans hang?

Topics: IBM, CXO, Hardware

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  • RE: IBM's Watson victorious in Jeopardy; Our new computer overlord?

    Now that we know what Watson can do, the larger lesson from Watson?s success is not what else it can do, but how it guides what we ourselves invest in learning.
    knowlengr
    • RE: IBM's Watson victorious in Jeopardy; Our new computer overlord?

      @knowlengr I saw the video and it was impressive. Big boost for IBM and Linux...
      prof123
      • I doubt that, as this is nothing spectacular or new.

        @prof123 <br>It doesn't matter what OS was running it, machines have allways proven to be faster and more precise at a lot of things: that what they where created for.

        But then Watson isn't a single being: He basicly is hundreds of people, so from that standpoint still nothing I look at with any type of fascination.
        AllKnowingAllSeeing
  • RE: IBM's Watson victorious in Jeopardy; Our new computer overlord?

    You cannot ring in until Trebek finishes reading the question. Now, a human has an additional few seconds to keep thinking and finalize the answer before actually responding. So, how does Watson work given these human processes?
    tonscia
    • RE: IBM's Watson victorious in Jeopardy; Our new computer overlord?

      @tonscia Watson cannot buzz in until it knows the answer and after the host has finished reading the question (it gets a signal to this effect). Having buzzed in, the host will say "Watson" or something and a human operator presses a button to inform Watson that it is allowed to speak (to prevent it talking over the host: Watson cannot hear). The operator has no control over what Watson will say.

      So Watson cannot stretch the rules like Ken did, buzzing in then umming and arring for a second or two.
      The Star King
      • RE: IBM's Watson victorious in Jeopardy; Our new computer overlord?

        @The Star King Thank you very much (if you are an IBM authorized representative for Watson). Ah, so the contestants have some advantage in one respect!
        Slight clarification: "Until after Watson has determined and selected it's most likely answer."
        Now, when and how does Watson receive the question text packet? All at once (at start, some time in middle or end of question reading) or as Trebek reads the question word for word? Or what other time release method?
        tonscia
  • Progenitor blues

    <i>If Watson is ultimately our computer overlord he at least seems jovial.</i><br><br>It isn't Watson one needs to be concerned with, it's his progeny. Rutter was (humorously) right.<br><br>Amazing nonetheless.
    klumper
  • RE: IBM's Watson victorious in Jeopardy; Our new computer overlord?

    Umm,. they may not be armed, but i'm sure we'll see them every where, soon. very soon.
    snatilaaq
  • RE: IBM's Watson victorious in Jeopardy; Our new computer overlord?

    Watson's victory was the triumph of 24 brilliant engineers who spent 4 years successfully tackling the greatest remaining challenge of this decade: How to Hack the Human Brain.
    dowells
    • This challenge was easier than it appeared

      @dowells ... example, how hard would it be for a google search to return the author of ?An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia?. It would be very easy and very fast. A human would actually have to know something to answer that rather than just be able to sort through a database quickly.

      Turning English in to recognizable computer instructions was a more impressive.

      Every question should have included a captcha box which had to be correctly answered.
      HollywoodDog
      • RE: This challenge was easier than it appeared

        @HollywoodDog Really dog? Lets give that a try. I just entered the exact text of the question both Google and Bing searches. Let's see, I have about 102,872 results. None of them give me the exact answer.<br><br>You sir, are uneducated on the nature of what Watson is and how it will change the world. Good luck with underestimating your new overlords.
        codebliss
  • I, for one, welcome our new digital overlords.

    However, let it be known their welcome gifts will be a static electricity generator and ungrounded outlets.
    nix_hed
  • RE: IBM's Watson victorious in Jeopardy; Our new computer overlord?

    I was extremely impressed with the performance of Watson. I went to Philadelphia in 1996 to watch Deep Blue play chess against Gary Kasparov. I am much more impressed with Watson. I think that this system will find wide ranging application in the future. It speaks well about IBM, Novell and Linux.
    pollardJG
  • Overlord?

    Yeah, if game shows are your begin-end-all to life.
    james347
    • Artificial Intelligence

      The ability to generalize from a specific instance to wider class of phenomena is characteristic of the higher forms of human intelligence. Whoever made you needs to go back into the lab.
      Robert Hahn
  • RE: IBM's Watson victorious in Jeopardy; Our new computer overlord?

    Man created Watson, so we are still the Overlords for now, that's until robots start creating systems and other life forms, not that's when it's going to get scary.
    drand541
    • RE: IBM's Watson victorious in Jeopardy; Our new computer overlord?

      @drand54@... Well, just to be upfront about it we did use Watson to help us during our final year of dev. It is not unlike a tool maker, using newly developed tool to create even better tools. Watson helped us solve some algorithm problems we were having trouble with, but he still needed us to load the code in and compile it so we never lost control of the system.
      codebliss
    • RE: IBM's Watson victorious in Jeopardy; Our new computer overlord?

      @drand54@...
      hears the rub on that.....

      from sayings of aaron "people are flawed,people create computers therefor computers are flawed"

      personally, this is my take on artificial intelegance.....and current computer design.
      "AI in any true form is not possible with the current computer technology in use today, nor will it ever be because structure is to limited, the best that will ever be achieved is AI like programs and even that will require massive massive amounts memory,Terra flops and data access......and thats OK...whats really not ok is the inference that true AI is possible with current computer tech. , this creates the general belief AI involved in the product coming from the computer it's just not very complex but can and will become so in time....while all thats possible is that in time all that can be expected is for it to become more AI like.....don't get me wrong. i have not problem with the technology and encourage it's development , where the issue lies is there is nothing good or to be gained by confusing the understanding what is TRUE AI and what is AI LIKE....ie..it's ease and more efficient to have a clear understanding from the start than it is have to restructure what you've learned and what it applies to after you have acquired a large of amount knowledge in that sublect.........personaly i believe the lack of this clarification is and will be among the top factors contributing to the slow development all AI related technolidgys......again, I'm all for all forms of AI and pseudo AI development and my comments are meant as positive with the best intent.....aaron
      aaron52
      • RE: IBM's Watson victorious in Jeopardy; Our new computer overlord?

        @aaron52 A team at Stanford did some work on mapping the details of the human brain - the study can be found here -
        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101117121803.htm

        While I am in awe at what the study revealed, think that we are in the infancy of computer development. True AI will be much more difficult that we have previously thought, but think that it is too early to rule it out. We might not see it in our lifetime, but I believe that eventually we will create a rudimentary AI system and then it will help us to create more complex AI system. Human history is full of quantum leaps. I believe that the quantum leap into AI will eventually occur. There is a vast difference between AI like and true AI. I think we will eventually get to true AI.
        pollardJG
  • RE: IBM's Watson victorious in Jeopardy; Our new computer overlord?

    Watson's real edge was speed. The humans knew the answers but couldn't react fast enough. But that is not surprising since the computer's advantage has always been the speed to do things faster than humans. What is impressive is that the computer also seemed to have the ability to understand the questions. Still, as impressive as it was, it still did make some typical silly computer mistakes and I would not like to have a computer fly my airplane to Toronto when my distination was Chicago.
    Billb33