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IBM Watson-Jeopardy Challenge party

February 16, 2011

The viewing party took place at the Castle Theater here today – the largest such event in the country outside of New York City.  The event was sold out with a waiting list and standing-room filled.

IBM Watson-Jeopardy challenge 16 February 2011, at the Castle Theater in Bloomington, IL

IBM Watson-Jeopardy challenge 16 February 2011, at the Castle Theater in Bloomington, IL

More pictures beginning here.

It was pretty amazing to see a computer figure out word puns and double-entendres.   This had nothing to do with the number of cores involved or even the gigantitude of the database, by the way.  It was a big supercomputer to be sure, but the clever part was the machine making some kind of functional sense from the tangle of concepts we call language.

On the other hand, if you took Watson and put it in the head of a Terminator, it would be very easy to defeat.  For now.  Certainly there was no danger of this thing becoming sentient and taking over the world.

The IBM engineer talked a little bit about potential applications in medical and education fields.  Would you tell a computer things you wouldn’t tell a nurse?  Might the computer be able to figure out things that a human doctor or nurse would be too habituated to spot?  How about a virtual teacher who could give your child 100% attention?


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. WeeDram
    February 18, 2011 at 19:20 | #1

    I’m glad Ewan has degrees in linguistics with minor in CS. Proud dad.

  2. February 19, 2011 at 02:25 | #2

    That looks like so much fun! Witnessing history in a historic setting – nothing better. Gorgeous photos, as always, too!

  3. WeeDram
    February 19, 2011 at 17:52 | #3

    But yes, the border fiasco is perplexing. ;)

  4. dof
    February 19, 2011 at 21:18 | #4

    You mean that Toronto is now a US city? Not really perplexing. In some ways it’s almost human; I make mistakes like that all the time and so do you; we call them “brain farts” and move on.

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