In case you missed this story, IBM have been wanting to test the new Natural Language AI engine in their Watson supercomputer, so they arranged for it to appear on US game show Jeopardy. This particular show was chosen because the nature of the questions means that it's not a simple case of word recognition, the computer really has to think about the problem its been faced with.
The face-off took place on live TV over the last couple of night and the good news for IBM is that Watson won against its two Human competitors winning $77,147 against the lowly $24,000 and $21,600 from the competition. Watson said that it would be giving its $1,000,000 winnings to charity.
This doesn't mean that we'll be having conversations with our computers any time soon or that they'll be taking over the world and destroying all Humans, this was a test of a system that's taken IBM's researchers years to develop. Those same researchers will now be taking the data from Watson's first public outing and pouring over it to find ways to fine tune the heuristics and locate flaws in the system.
We can now probably expect Watson to be taking on more challenges in the coming years so it will inevitably be popping up elsewhere. Technology like this in the future could bring a whole new horrible dimension to talking to a computer system on the telephone and it will be truly fascinating to see how this technology evolves and is used. I can imagine there would be excellent opportunities for the technology to help the disabled and infirm.
Here is the video of the short round of Jeopardy where IBM's supercomputer plays against human and really does a great job playing against them.
Here is another video of the same show.
It is astonishing how well the machine understands the questions and comes up with answers. While it is still probability-based, as you can see from the top 3 choices displayed sometimes on the screen, it is still impressive to say the least.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.