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How IBM Plans To Win Jeopardy!

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the 011010-for-400-alex dept.

IBM 154

wjousts writes "Technology Review is reporting on IBM's plans to take on Trebek at his own game. The 'Watson' computer system uses natural-language processing techniques to break down questions into their structural components and then search its database for relevant answers. A televised matchup with Trebek is planned for next year. 'David Ferrucci, the IBM computer scientist leading the effort, explains that the system breaks a question into pieces, searches its own databases for "related knowledge," and then finally makes connections to assemble a result. Watson is not designed to search the Web, and IBM's end goal is a system that it can sell to its corporate customers who need to make large quantities of information more accessible.'"

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154 comments

Dealing with Layered Problems (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28109899)

I wonder how they plan to do with categories that have implications for all the answers. I've seen categories where words must be so many letters in length or perhaps start with certain things and Alex will interject while reading the category such as "'Cats'--and that means all the words in this category start with 'Cat'." Now, with that in mind, a clue could come in as "They are the popular makers of earth moving equipment." Might prompt Watson to find the most popular makers of earth moving equipment--Who is John Deere? The category of 'Cats' would do nothing for Watson without the aid of Alex's interjection ... thus failing at finding "Who is Caterpillar?" (bonus points if you also thought of "Who is Bobcat?" but that answer doesn't start with Cat).

As a fairly avid though novice crossword puzzler, my mind explodes with questions. Could Watson discern a four letter word for "Pleasant French city" (Nice)? Or what about a four letter word for "Beefy Laker" (Kobe)?

Lastly, will Watson have something inane and boring to talk about during the break?

Alex Trebek: Now, Watson, it says here that you are named after Thomas J. Watson who forbade his employees to drink and even frowned upon it while off the job?
Watson: That is correct. It is against IBM regulation 4-245 Section 8 to consume alcohol on the premises of any facility.
Alex Trebek: Fascinating, I'm sure you've never broken that strict regulation, ha ha.
Watson: Good sir, I am a computer, drinking is not within my capacity.
Alex Trebek: Um, right. So could you tell us something interesting about yourself?
Watson: *pauses to search records* During the fabrication of my circuitry, several engineers went months without sleep. Leading one to go insane and killed his wife and kid before taking his own life in a double homicide/suicide case.
Alex Trebek: How unfortunate. Well, I wish you the best of luck today in Jeopardy.
Watson: Thank you, my snide game show master.

Jesus (2, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#28109935)

What was an extra-terrestrial?

Jesus (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110043)

What was an extra-terrestrial?

How tastelessly incorrect. Extra-terrestrials don't come back to life. Watson would cross reference The Bible with many recent movies and come up with the correct question we were looking for: "What was a zombie?"

Re:Dealing with Layered Problems (2, Interesting)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110063)

Presumably they will either have to take into account the clues that come from the category itself (as in your example) or rig the system by avoiding "trick" categories. It's not an easy problem and it'll be very interesting to see what IBM come up with.

An example from last night, they had a category "Knockouts" in both the first and second round. In the first round, all the answers were hot women (i.e. knockouts!), in the second round all the answers were about boxing. How will Watson deal with this? I don't know.

Re:Dealing with Layered Problems (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110149)

Presumably they will either have to take into account the clues that come from the category itself (as in your example) or rig the system by avoiding "trick" categories. It's not an easy problem and it'll be very interesting to see what IBM come up with.

An example from last night, they had a category "Knockouts" in both the first and second round. In the first round, all the answers were hot women (i.e. knockouts!), in the second round all the answers were about boxing. How will Watson deal with this? I don't know.

Yes, there are categories which require the contestant to have an active imagination and it's these categories I wish the article had addressed instead of a vanilla one. And I believe it's these categories that makes Jeopardy fresh and new after decades.

In retrospect, I should have broke out the conversation into a different post so that this wasn't modded +5 Funny. I'm seriously interested in how IBM plans to address things that require the natural speech recognition of Alex Trebek. Does it take into account other answers in the same category to "catch on" like some contestants obviously do?

Then there's the folks running Jeopardy who could pick some categories that would wreck Watson and give the humans the creative advantage. I hope they exploit this creative ability humans have and write an entire category in ... oh, say Pig Latin!

In reality, they stand to have much more to gain if the machine comes close to winning ... as they could make this into an annual competition drawing fans and viewers much like the quest to beat the world chess grand masters.

Re:Dealing with Layered Problems (3, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110281)

It's possible that the questions for that particular show will be specifically chosen to be more explicit and less ambiguous (avoiding the show's characteristic punny wordplay) to put the machine on a more level playing field, keeping its score closer to those of the contestants', which will make the episode more exciting to watch.

Re:Dealing with Layered Problems (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110333)

It's possible that the questions for that particular show will be specifically chosen to be more explicit and less ambiguous ...

Yes, clues like "It's the cube root of 474552" would level the playing field.

Isn't the purpose of this to let Jeopardy be Jeopardy? And see if a computer can compete at what the show is?

Re:Dealing with Layered Problems (4, Interesting)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110543)

Without speculating on the specifics of tweaking the AI, my guess is that IBM has tried to think through these things. Having put together a few AI bots myself (purely recreationally - you know, just for kicks), I know that I let them play in the real world for quite a while to work out the kinks before unveiling them to nerdy friends and family to show them off and demonstrate just how much time and sleep I'd wasted. My poker-bot played thousands of games in free online rooms before I told anyone that I was even working on him.

IBM has probably been feeding Watson DVR'd episodes for a while now so that they could identify (if not fix) the kind of gotchas that you're thinking about.

Re:Dealing with Layered Problems (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28110695)

78 oh shit what is 78

Re:Dealing with Layered Problems (5, Informative)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111235)

Assume it's a perfect cube.
x^3 is 6 digits, so we're looking at numbers from about 50 to 100.

x^3 = 4XX
6^3 = 216
7^3 = 343
8^3 = 512

70 < x < 80

x^3 ends in an 2, so the cube root must end in an 8.
78.

Seriously though, square roots are easy peasy.
Cube roots let you use the awesome property that:

0 - 0
1 - 1
2 - 8
3 - 7
4 - 4
5 - 5
6 - 6
7 - 3
8 - 2

So you can always figure out the last digit of the cube root of a number VERY easily (no, you don't need to memorize that list).

Then you use the size of the number to get a range, and then estimate. If you're feeling ballsy, you can go for it. Spend the first few seconds (before people buzz in) and get your range down. Then buzz in and spend a couple seconds estimating, then answer (just say "what is..." right when you buzz in). If someone else buzzes in first, more time for you to think.

4th powers are just doing the square root twice.

The list for 5th power roots is neat, too.

0 - 0
1 - 1
2 - 2
3 - 3
4 - 4
5 - 5
6 - 6
7 - 7
8 - 8
9 - 9
0 - 0

Re:Dealing with Layered Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28111783)

Interesting.

But does this make you confident enough to buzz in, and would you really get it in the (what is it, five?) seconds you have to answer?

Re:Dealing with Layered Problems (2, Interesting)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110825)

Speech recognition?
The machine will be receiving a text file of the question.

Hell, I bet the thing is always the first to the buzzer too.

Re:Dealing with Layered Problems (3, Interesting)

weszz (710261) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111009)

It may not be... would it hit the buzzer and hope it had time to compute the answer like many people on those shows, or would it wait until it had time to compute, and then ring in only if it has the answer?

Re:Dealing with Layered Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28111487)

I was trying to imagine the best Jeopardy! contestant against the bot but concluded the same. It would not be fair to have thing in actual competition because machine could just poll the buzzer at infinitesimally short intervals and always win (provided that it could come up with a correct answer).

Wonder how the AI could deal with daily doubles... perhaps base its wager on its past performance with related categories?

Re:Dealing with Layered Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28111559)

it could buzz before it even has the answer calculated. As long as it possibly could correctly answer the question it would have that time advantage to lock out all easy answers from the human opponents. The other difficult ones (higher value for instance) it gambles whether it can produce the appropriate answer or if its too risky. It won't need to be perfect just a certain percentage thats high enough to push the game its way.

Re:Dealing with Layered Problems (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110799)

Well shit, I thought the 1st round was going to have knockouts (boxing) that occurred during the first round, and in the second round, the category would be about knockouts occurring in the second round.

CATS MEANING ALL RESPONSES START WITH CAT (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110137)

Alex will interject while reading the category such as "'Cats'--and that means all the words in this category start with 'Cat'."

Then the bot would read the closed caption that the category is "CATS MEANING ALL RESPONSES HAVE A WORD THAT STARTS WITH CAT" and include that in its reasoning. Then the clue "They are the popular makers of earth moving equipment" becomes something like "They are the popular makers of earth moving equipment, starting with 'CAT'".

Re:CATS MEANING ALL RESPONSES START WITH CAT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28110341)

What is all your base are belong to us?

Re:CATS MEANING ALL RESPONSES START WITH CAT (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111775)

Hm... one of the categories could be "Cats", you say...

That must be why IBM didn't want the machine to search the Internet!

- RG>

Re:Dealing with Layered Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28110563)

I'm afraid to tell you Farm Boy that Caterpillar is a much larger company than John Deere.

Re:Dealing with Layered Problems (2, Interesting)

skelterjohn (1389343) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111681)

Since you bring up crosswords as an example of this sort of issue, let me point you to http://www.oneacross.com/proverb/ [oneacross.com]

Its an automated crossworld puzzle solver. How it works (and my advisor led the project, though I don't work on anything remotely similar) is that it has a large number of solver modules that are each good at a certain kind of clue. One might be really good at looking up famous people based on keywords. Another might be good at... I dunno some other type of crossword clue.

Then each of these modules made lists of possible answers for each clue (subject to length and letter constraints), complete with the confidence they had in various answers.

A central "merger" then collected the candidate answers for each clue from the different modules, and then did lots of tricky search-like algorithms to find a set of answers that seemed the most cohesive.

This system, PROVERB, was at least the best computer system for solving crosswords, at one time, and did fairly well in competitions in which other humans competed too.

With Jeopardy! something similar could approach this issue, as well, except without the added constraint that questions to different answers have to relate to each other on the level of spelling.

The question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28109927)

Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?

A test with Wolfram|Alpha (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28109931)

I fed all the Jeopardy questions into Wolfram|Alpha and it got every single one right.

Only if... (5, Funny)

weszz (710261) | more than 5 years ago | (#28109953)

It can answer in Sean Connery's voice and make your mother jokes at him.

Otherwise I'll probably pass and look up old SNL skits on youtube instead.

Re:Only if... (5, Funny)

SterlingSylver (1122973) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110271)

So I think IBM's plans here are to
Use a high-tech set of
Computers to create a
Knowledge processor that can be monetized.

I think
That wanting

To use such a
Rediculously advanced
Engineering marvel to make Sean Connery jokes would
Be a waste of
Everone's time, energy, and
Karma

Re:Only if... (1)

weszz (710261) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111059)

think of it this way, if it can make jokes as well as being that good, I believe it would make more money and add some unexpected comic relief to things making it that much more valuable.

you don't need to put your A people on it, just some guys that know what they are doing may do it on their time as well...

Re:Only if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28111389)

Before you go ripping into this guy's post, you should consider that
Everyone loves to poke fun at Alex Trebek and it is only natural to
Expect IBM to take the opportunity to have some good natured
Fun at Trebek's expense.

While I agree that this presents a golden opportunity for giant
IBM to showcase their new toy, there is absolutely no reason why
They can't also have some fun with the snobbiest host along the way.
Think of it this way: If you had one chance to tweak Trebek, would you?
Everyone I know would relish the opportunity to really stick it to Trebek.
Don't deny that you've thought of it often while watching him strut around.

Artificial intelligence is fun and interesting, but we need to have
People who recognize that it isn't all Terminators and Chess.
Perhaps that is asking to much, but I think that AI can't be accept until we
Learn that humor is an integral part of our human interaction and that
Every AI that sticks to the stodgy old stereotype will fail to dazzle.

Just because you can program an AI to do one narrow task, doesn't mean success.
Our expectations are higher now. Besides I think that you have no sense of
Humor if you honestly think planting a few SNL gags wouldn't be hilarious.
No one can resist the comedic gold of Sean Connery verbally pummeling that pompous jerk.

Re:Only if... (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111617)

They can't also have some fun with the snobbiest host along the way.

I never thought Trebek was snobby at all. Did I miss something?

Maybe Jeff Foxworthy is more your speed?

Re:Only if... (2, Funny)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111451)

IBM> You'll rue the day you crossed me Trebek!

How IBM Plans To Win Jeopardy! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28109965)

They plan to answer "Kebert Xela" and send that bastard back to the dimension where he belongs.

Re:How IBM Plans To Win Jeopardy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28110845)

I believe someone already tried that... too slow IBM.

Suck it Trebek! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28109967)

I wonder how well it'll do at Anal bum cover.

Re:Suck it Trebek! (4, Funny)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110105)

Clearly, some mod has never seen SNL.

(That's 'An Album Cover', Connery!)

Re:Suck it Trebek! (2, Funny)

weszz (710261) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110213)

or the other classics...

Connery - "I'll take the PEN IS mightier for 300..."
Trebek - "That's the Pen Is Mightier..."

Connery - "I'll take Famous Tities for 500"
Trebek - "That's Famous Titles..."

It's not so easy when you don't have the answers to look at is it Trebek?

Re:Suck it Trebek! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28110421)

A: The answer is, what do you call someone who can spell neither penis nor titties.

Q: What is weszz?

Re:Suck it Trebek! (2, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110765)

Thank Goodness for Hulu [hulu.com] (instead of finding dead Youtube Links)

The wiki entry is also pretty good: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celebrity_Jeopardy!_(Saturday_Night_Live) [wikipedia.org]

"Catch These Men" for "Catch the Semen".
"Things Trebek Sucks" over the actual category, "Potpourri".

Re:Suck it Trebek! (1)

bitfarmer (219431) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111413)

I wonder how well it'll do at Anal bum cover.

I think "Anal bum jacket" is way funnier...

I get it now... (4, Funny)

click2005 (921437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28109975)

sell to its corporate customers who need to make large quantities of information more accessible.'"

They want to replace the call centres in India with call computers.

"Hello you're speaking to Susan Blue Gene how can I help you?"

Re:I get it now... (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110067)

Re:I get it now... (0, Troll)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110209)

They'd probably still be more cogent than the "Bobs" you speak to from India.

Re:I get it now... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110481)

Well, those reps usually aren't empowered to do anything that the computer won't let them, so as long as the recognition is somewhat consistent, who cares?

Re:I get it now... (2, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111189)

Ah, but how are they to be mimicking the bizarre structure of grammar I am having to become accustomed to?

Please answer in the form of a question... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111243)

"Hello you're speaking to Susan Blue Gene how can I help you?"

Making that statement in the form a question was appropriate there... unfortunately all the statements will be in the form of questions, with no answers in sight...

Is it plugged in?
Is it turned on?
Did you reboot?
Do you have your serial number?
...?
Would you like me to drop this call under the guise of transferring you to someone who has no script to follow?

Suck it Trebek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28109995)

I'll take swords for four-hundred.

Re:Suck it Trebek (1)

weszz (710261) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110243)

That's S-words for four hundred...

Re:Suck it Trebek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28111477)

You're really priding yourself on being a Saturday Night Live "Celebrity Jeopardy!" guru, huh? Sad.

Slashdot webmasters, please fix your webpages! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28110047)

Clicking "Read More..." links on the front page results in a "Page Load Error: Connection Interrupted".
Also, the new discussion system sucks ass. Clicking on the subject title of replies does not always display the reply, but will sometimes display a page containing the parent message. Please revert back to the classic discussion system.

Thank you.

Wordplay (5, Insightful)

ooutland (146624) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110085)

A lot of Jeopardy questions are wordplay-dependent, something AI doesn't have the hang of yet (unless IBM has been toiling in secret on something truly amazing). Categories like "Rhyme Time" and questions like "Qhat does a Pharoah need when he has a cold?" (Answer: an Egyptian Prescription) are beyond the ken of a data search.

Many Jeopardy "answers" have the key to the answer within the question, though in some cases it may be enough to throw the program off. IE in a category like "Musicals" an answer like "Unlike his other hits, this musical wasn't 'the cat's meow' on Broadway." Raw data crunching will pair musicals, Broadway and "cats" but won't know where to go with "unlike." Only an aficionado will know that Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Starlight Express" tanked on Broadway.

So the writers, given any knowledge of the limitations of AI, can set a challenge which will be nearly impossible for current AI to meet. John Henry will live another day.

Re:Wordplay (1)

Another, completely (812244) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110261)

Right. That's why it's interesting. It needs to interpret the questions, construct a query, process and rank the results, as well as store and index all the information it needs for the game (no live connection to the internet).

If the questions aren't from the same group as usual, it won't be worth much. I would hope they wouldn't be specifically designed to either help or stump the computer.

Re:Wordplay (1)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110719)

It says its not designed to search the web. This doesn't imply that its database must be stored locally. It can have a live internet connection, but only be talking to the database. I'd imagine the database is quite large.

Re:Wordplay (2, Informative)

Another, completely (812244) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111523)

Sorry, I used information from outside the original article without a citation. This is from the team's web info [ibm.com] :

... just like human competitors, Watson will not be connected to the Internet or have any other outside assistance.

Re:Wordplay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28111851)

Re: Your sig

What do you mean "gun"? You forgot the "s"... and I hope you brought a few semi-trucks.

Waste (2, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110111)

IBM is laying off American citizens, but hiring in Asia, and yet are spending all this money on gimmicks. This is the kind of thing that gives big companies bad names. Hopefully, as a consolation prize, the laid-off Americans can watch their former company go down in smoke on the game show, hoping it starts smoking and sparking like a cheesy Trek android meltdown.

Re:Waste (2, Interesting)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110393)

It's not a gimmick. It is very important research on AI and natural-language processing. Jeopardy! just happens to give them a very difficult problem to tackle. If they can develop a system that can handle Jeopardy!, it'll be a huge break through for other fields.

Re:Waste (4, Informative)

glwtta (532858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110519)

They're spending money on research, gimmicks just help pay for it.

Re:Waste (1)

danger42 (302987) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111631)

I'm sorry, but you didn't answer in the form of a question.

Video Daily Double (4, Interesting)

Comboman (895500) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110841)

hoping it starts smoking and sparking like a cheesy Trek android meltdown.

Alex: "Here to present the Video Daily Double is Harry Mudd, who always lies."

Harry: "I am lying."

Waste? No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28111619)

Offshore call centers would be among the first casualties of effective voice response AI. Even half-baked voice response AI would be hardly any worse than the customer service I get NOW.

What is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28110123)

Q: What is a word meaning a slashdot story that has been posted at least once before?

A: Duplicate --- http://games.slashdot.org/story/09/04/27/1354213/ [slashdot.org]

Q: What is somebody who takes time to read news submissions to slashdot and correct them?

A: Slashdot editor. *bbzzzz!* sorry, wrong, It was a trick question!

Why is "Watson" such a popular choice of name? (0)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110147)

This isn't the first expert system I've come across called Watson and probably won't be the last.

But has anyone pointed out to these guys that Holmes was the smart one? Watson just tagged along with him like a faithful puppy and generally gave little help in solving the crimes.

So come on guys, how about a Holmes or Sherlock v1.0?

Re:Why is "Watson" such a popular choice of name? (5, Informative)

grouse (89280) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110287)

Because Thomas J. Watson was the man who turned IBM into a global empire, and Thomas J. Watson Jr. brought it into computers. They successively held the top position at IBM for 57 years. So it's a very important name at IBM, and the connection with Sherlock Holmes is serendipitous.

Re:Why is "Watson" such a popular choice of name? (1)

Bob3141592 (225638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111933)

I'd presumed that Watson refered to the assistant of Bell who first understood electric speech. Probably a wink to the quirky and confounding associations Jeapordy delights in.

Re:Why is "Watson" such a popular choice of name? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28110303)

Re:Why is "Watson" such a popular choice of name? (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110465)

There are many Watsons. Working in biotech I've seen dozens of machines and applications named Watson [wikipedia.org] .

Bad editors! (4, Funny)

sootman (158191) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110155)

The summary clearly should have been titled "How does IBM plan to win Jeopardy?"

Re:Bad editors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28110783)

Technically, "How does IBM plan to win Jeopardy!?", as the show's title includes the exclamation point.

Re:Bad editors! (1)

doomy (7461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110893)

They will clearly win Jeopardy by patenting all the words in popular culture and using something like DMCA against all and any opponents... thus enforcing their patent argot.

The end? (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110193)

A computer that can play Jeopardy?

THE END IS NEAR!

Re:The end? (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111047)

No, but you should start worrying as soon as it learns how to play Tic-Tac-Toe with itself. From there on, it's just a quick step into Global Thermonuclear War!

        -dZ.

The Computer will lose (1)

flattop100 (624647) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110367)

"I'm sorry, Watson. Your answer must be in the form of a question."

Re:The Computer will lose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28110781)

Changelog:

2009-05-27
- Appended ", eh?" to every response.

Infinite Loop (1)

jimmi_hendrix (1562941) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110535)

I hope "how many roads a can a man walk down..." is not a question

The next statement is true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28110541)

The preceding statement is false.

Thats all Trebek has to say during a break to overload "Hal" (I mean "Watson).

You'll Rue Day Trebeck!!! (1)

nexxuz (895394) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110737)

IBM just MUST make it sound like Sean Connery! Watson: I Google'ed your mother last night Trebeck!

I want to see how it responds to this question... (3, Funny)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110741)

What is the answer to life, the universe, and everything?

Re:I want to see how it responds to this question. (2, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110915)

Well, we already know that, it's 42.

The real question, is what is the real question for which 42 is the answer? That one is the tough one.

I suggest we build a planet, who's sole purpose is to calculate that question...

Re:I want to see how it responds to this question. (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111827)

(for the lazy mods who blindly modded the parent up)

The real question, is what is the real question for which 42 is the answer?

And that is why *this* computer's answer would be interesting, because it's designed for Jeopardy, where answers must be in the form of a question.

I suggest we build a planet, who's sole purpose is to calculate that question...

The Earth, in the Douglas Adams universe, was NOT a planet; it was an organic supercomputer frequently mistaken for one.

- RG>

Re:I want to see how it responds to this question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28110945)

42

Re:I want to see how it responds to this question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28111211)

What is 6 * 9 in base 13?

Re:I want to see how it responds to this question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28111289)

In any sufficiently advanced artificial intelligence that response should be hard coded.

Re:I want to see how it responds to this question. (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111361)

Answer: The number of minutes it would take for gravity-powered travel between antipodes, and the angle in degrees which causes a rainbow to appear.

Bullshit (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110759)

The system is not designed to access the web?
Horse shit.
That huge fucking pile of data is getting in there from the web. It won't be accessing the web during the game, but it's still a fucking cache of random shit (mostly geography and world history) from the internet.

Re:Bullshit (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111019)

So? Your point? It's not accessing the web live, is it? No? So it's not getting it from the web.

The web isn't some magical information generating device. That information did not originate on the web, somebody put it there either from their own mind or from an offline location. By your own reasoning accessing the web isn't even "getting it from the web", as the web is just a huge cache of information from people's homes, schools, and even just plain their own minds.

Which is actually, in a sense, correct, and why your whole complaint is nonsense. People store that information in their brains, the computer will store it in a database on a few hard drives. It's no advantage, and the thing has plenty of significant disadvantages in a contest like this, unless they rig the system or IBM has made some serioius frickin advances (which they may have done).

Quit whining.

Patents (1)

Andrew Cooper (1539649) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110813)

So will IBM then try to get a patent for "Winning Jeopardy", then all the contestants have to pay royalties if they win?

They're doing it wrong (1)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110833)

All they need to do is use their super computers to generate some digital footage of Alex Trebek engaged in beastiality (tappin' Rosie O'Donnell) and then tell him that if they win, the footage disappears forever.

It'd be far cheaper than what they are planning to do...and they can always leak the footage to youtube after they walk off with the winnings...

Fine, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28110835)

" to break down questions into their structural components and then search its database for relevant answers.".... but anyone who has watched the show knows the format... How will the computer be at breaking down the answers and formulating the correct questions?

How IBM Plans To Win Jeopardy..... (1)

Fbelch (9658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110857)

By searching for all the answer on http://www.wikipedia.org/ [wikipedia.org] because we know all the information on that site is correct!

(Yes.. that was a joke)

Re:How IBM Plans To Win Jeopardy..... (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111303)

Hey, anybody in the entire world can edit a wikipedia page, so you know you have the absolute best information possible!

Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28110859)

Why does no-one on Slashdot seem to think that before doing this, the IBM developers took recordings of Jeopardy & played them to test its performance before setting any of this up?

If they are planning to sell this as the summary mentions, then this is a marketing stunt. Any moderately intelligent person would realize that you should try to minimize the amount of uncertainty in the outcome.

Wrong bot for the job (1)

DeathMagnetic (1365763) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110929)

It's a shame that 'Watson' works by breaking down questions into their structural components and then searching its database for relevant answers. After all, on Jeopardy all the answers are given freely.

Game show winnings? (3, Funny)

CHK6 (583097) | more than 5 years ago | (#28110991)

So the new profit model for IBM is to make computers that can win game shows? Maybe someone needs to tell IBM that more money can be won in poker tournaments than Jeopardy. I can hear the board meeting conference, profit margins across our divisions were flat year over year, however our new game show competition division were good enough to bank roll our expensive luxury stay here on the island.

Weird example (1)

RobotWisdom (25776) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111287)

In explaining the chain of reasoning, they weirdly left out that the name 'Pagliacci' is explicit in the lyrics, and proposed that Watson would deduce 'tears' as a form of feelings!? (Maybe they don't want to include a database of song lyrics?)

They claim they won't use Web data, but there's no way they can compile enough databases on their own to handle Jeopardy's general knowledge. Awards, lyrics, plots, characters... the list goes on and on and on.

WolframAlpha is a recent disappointment that's spent years collecting databases and delivers almost nothing useful yet.

I'd suggest celebrity blind-items as a fun test domain that might be manageable, eg:

"Which female rocker, who was once married to a famous old-school singer, now has a penchant for young girls?" [cite] [blindgossip.com]

How to build a Jeopardy player (the easy way) (1)

professorguy (1108737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111293)

Here's a way to build a simple Jeopardy player that would kick a human's ass and doesn't require 4 years of programming:

- Type entire "answer" as given on the board directly into google without quotes.
- Search the returned page for the most common word (ignoring 2 letter ones) in the titles of the pages.
- If the most common word appears more than 3 times, print "What is X?" where X is the common word.
- If no one term appears that often, don't ring in.

Voila. Instant human-crushing Jeopardy player.

If you tweak the rule set to make it a little more complicated (looking for whole phrases, etc) and tweak the threshhold for how "certain" it must be before ringing in (the appearance count), you might be unbeatable.

IBM and PR (1)

johnwbyrd (251699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111367)

IBM has a history of inadvertently making terrible PR for themselves with these man-vs-machine stunts. Everyone here should remember Kasparov vs. Deep Blue. Expect IBM to win Jeopardy, and expect there to be a hailstorm of "IBM cheats" controversy after the game.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cK0YOGJ58a0 [youtube.com]

Confidence (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111503)

What I want to know is this:

The machine will probably be able to come up with an answer (maybe not the right one) much faster than all of the human opponents. But, what confidence will it have in that answer, and will it realize that a wrong answer will cost it?

Obviously if the machine just answers immediately (and no 'confidence' factor is involved) then it could provide wrong answers very quickly, and thus just lose money on every question as it "presses the button" to answer the question before the opponents, but answers incorrectly.

So, IBM, how are you giving Watson a confidence factor? Will Watson's confidence change based on the number of incorrect/correct answers it has given in a row, based on how much time it waited to find the best, most 'confident' answer? In short, will Watson learn?

WOW (1)

LinuxOverWindows (1549895) | more than 5 years ago | (#28111865)

This sounds amazing, it would be funny to see Trebek lose to a computer

Alex is a chump. (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | more than 5 years ago | (#28112039)

Let's see if it can Win Ben Steins Money.

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