Artificial intelligence's next frontier: Jeopardy

IBM on Monday unveiled Watson, a question answering system designed to play Jeopardy against humans. Watson will be competing against humans on Jeopardy, the popular quiz show.

IBM on Monday unveiled Watson, a question answering system designed to play Jeopardy against humans. 

Watson will be competing against humans on Jeopardy, the popular quiz show. IBM is hoping that Watson will be able to understand complex questions---presumably from Alex Trebek---and answer them fast enough to compete with humans. 

The knowledge part of Jeopardy---history, culture, science and other topics---can be packed into Watson. What's unclear is whether the system can get all the nuances of the clues. 

In a statement (Techmeme), IBM noted that the research underlying Watson will ultimately be applied to companies. 

A few quick thoughts:

  • I'm rooting for the humans.
  • Not sure why but losing to Watson in Jeopardy would be more demoralizing than losing to a machine in chess. 
  • Watson will ultimately be wrapped into IBM's analytics services and technologies

Dave Ferrucci, IBM scientist and Watson project director, with his baby.

Dave Ferrucci, IBM scientist and Watson project director, with his baby.