Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

IBM's Question-Answering System "Watson" Revisited

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the can-only-give-you-answers dept.

IBM 170

religious freak writes "IBM has created and made the question answering algorithm, Watson, available online. Watson has competed in and won a majority of (mock) matches against humans in Jeopardy. Watson does not connect to the Internet to answer his questions, but rather seeks answers using many different algorithms then employs a ranking algorithm to choose the best answer." We mentioned Watson last year as well.

cancel ×

170 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I'll take Ken Jennings for the block... (4, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32609984)

Part of the deal with Jeopardy! is that they will have as part of the 2010-2011 season be a televised episode in which record-breaking champ Ken Jennings will play against Watson, with a to-be-named-later champion in the third slot. This has been in the works since 2009, but the staff of the show finally thinks the system is ready for it's televised match.

One key factor is how the human behavior will change when prize money is at stake. Jennings has proven in numerous appearances on GSN that he's willing to play in any test of knowledge and the fact that he knew he was Jeopardy's first millionaire in regular season play didn't stop his long Jeopardy! run. He also studied for the show, particularly alcoholic beverages (which he doesn't drink) because he had seen the Potent Potables category on TV.

But, what about that player-to-be-named later? Will they know more than the grad students... and play the game not as if it's for points but real dollars?

Re:I'll take Ken Jennings for the block... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32610180)

Part of the deal with Jeopardy! is that they will have as part of the 2010-2011 season be a televised episode in which record-breaking champ Ken Jennings will play against Watson, with a to-be-named-later champion in the third slot. This has been in the works since 2009, but the staff of the show finally thinks the system is ready for it's televised match.

One key factor is how the human behavior will change when prize money is at stake. Jennings has proven in numerous appearances on GSN that he's willing to play in any test of knowledge and the fact that he knew he was Jeopardy's first millionaire in regular season play didn't stop his long Jeopardy! run. He also studied for the show, particularly alcoholic beverages (which he doesn't drink) because he had seen the Potent Potables category on TV.

But, what about that player-to-be-named later? Will they know more than the grad students... and play the game not as if it's for points but real dollars?

niggers, coons and jigaboos, that's what.

Re:I'll take Ken Jennings for the block... (-1, Troll)

Top4man (1836260) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610400)

TOP4MAN – [top4man.ru] .

I lost on Jepordy (3, Funny)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610452)

Against a programmer, oh, and an algorithm, both with a PhD....

-Weird Al Parodied

Re:I lost on Jepordy (2, Funny)

Yaos (804128) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611472)

I took Potpourri, for 100, and my head started to spin.

Re:I'll take Ken Jennings for the block... (5, Funny)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611146)

But, what about that player-to-be-named later?

They're fucked.

Re:I'll take Ken Jennings for the block... (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611420)

But, what about that player-to-be-named later?

Sean Connery always wins.

"I'll take Anal Bum Cover for $200!"

Tune in a half-hour early... (5, Funny)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610004)

and see students from the MIT Robotics Lab test their machine that they say can avoid the Bankrupts and find that Million Dollar wedge on the Wheel of Fortune!

Re:Tune in a half-hour early... (2, Funny)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610120)

Elsewhere on the TV dial...

H&R Block's mainframe system has computed that all of the the offers on Deal or No Deal are bunk, you're always statistically better off sticking with your case through most of the game... but they're still unsure whether you should take Howie's offer to switch your case with the last one left in the hands of the models.

A tragedy as the Stanford-built computer made to play Russian Roulette was caught not in the lead when time was called in the second round, and was dropped by the random must-drop-somebody spin. It suffered the series first fatal injury as the fall broke it's hard disk. It will not be rebult.

Amazon.com's entry onto The Price is Right was disqualified from the Human-vs.-Machine Day event after it was learned that it was powered by Mechanical Turk.

Priceline.com's robot blundered today by deciding to keep the trip to Spain when it declined to play the Big Deal, and had to watch a woman dressed as Clown get the new Chevy Volt on today's Let's Make of the Deal.

Re:Tune in a half-hour early... (1)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610744)

H&R Block's mainframe system has computed that all of the the offers on Deal or No Deal are bunk, you're always statistically better off sticking with your case through most of the game... but they're still unsure whether you should take Howie's offer to switch your case with the last one left in the hands of the models.

That's interesting to me for a couple reasons.

I loathe that show. I'm not part of the anti-pop-TV brigade, I just find it incredibly boring. I tell my wife it's like watching someone throw dice against the wall for 42 minutes (DVR!), interspersed with crap dialogue.

Having admittedly never thought about the last two cases scenario (the one you started with, and a final model's case). I would have thought that the probability maths behind this would be pretty simple.. do you have a link for that H&R block conclusion? I'd find their reasoning for it being unclear interesting.

My math is as follows.

- You pick one of the [26] cases at the beginning. Instead of focusing on amounts let's call one a "winning" case (top prize), all the others losers.
- This means you have a 25/26 (P=0.96) chance of selecting a loser.
- If you open the 24 cases on the stage, and one remains in addition to the one you're holding, and you haven't 'cleared' (opened) the winning case.. you're now left with a 1/2 (P=.50) chance at picking the winner.

This is part of the reason the show bores the crap out of me. :)

Re:Tune in a half-hour early... (3, Insightful)

Ambiguous Puzuma (1134017) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611072)

I don't care for the show myself, but don't forget about the nonlinear utility function of money. As an illustration, given that I'm comfortable but not wealthy:

If given a choice between a guaranteed $400 and a 50-50 shot at $1,000, I'd choose the latter. The money wouldn't have a major impact on my life, so I'd go for the option with the best expected return.
If given a choice between a guaranteed $400,000 and a 50-50 shot at $1,000,000, I'd take the guaranteed $400,000, even though the expected return of the latter situation is $500,000. $400,000 would give me a substantial amount of freedom and security. An additional $600,000 beyond that would be nice but would provide relatively few benefits compared to the initial $400,000.

Now, if I were already a millionaire, I'd most likely choose the 50-50 shot at $1,000,000.

Well, this is no good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32610008)

Why can't I ask it my own questions?

Re:Well, this is no good (2, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610028)

Why can't I ask it my own questions?

Because, like Deep Blue at its time, it requires much more computing power than today's typical web site or PC. Chess has finally been solved to the point that there's now unbeatable AIs available to the average user (assuming it gets to move first) but Jeopardy! hasn't, which is why this is novel. It'll take several more years of computing power increases before we'll be playing this AI on our home video game systems.

Re:Well, this is no good (5, Informative)

Quackers_McDuck (1367183) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610136)

Chess has finally been solved to the point that there's now unbeatable AIs available to the average user (assuming it gets to move first)

There are no unbeatable AIs for chess yet, that would imply chess is a solved game (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solving_chess). It doesn't make much of a difference who moves first, either.

Re:Well, this is no good (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610232)

This is a given, since there aren't even any AIs yet, so there could be no unbeatable AIs.

I admit that as a programmer this is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. But people: computers are NOT "intelligent". At all. They do what they do by performing the same specific instructions over and over and over again. That's what computers are good at. Granted, they do more complex things today, but that's just due to clever programming and the ability to do many more instructions many times faster than before (i.e., better hardware and software). But that's just quantity. What it lacks is quality. No matter how clever a combination of processors and program may seem at some specific task, it totally lacks the quality we call "intelligence". To call anything running on a computer today "intelligent" is to undermine the word itself. You might as well call a rock an airplane.

Researchers in this field 20 years ago would have been appalled at what people today refer to as "AI". Of course they would also be appalled at the lack of progress in that same field, but that's another matter.

I am not pointing fingers at the posters here. They are just using "AI" in the way it has become commonly used. But that is an erroneous use and I would be happy to see the practice stop. It gives people the wrong idea.

If we (erroneously) call what occurs today "intelligent", then if something ever really did become intelligent, what would we call it?

Re:Well, this is no good (0, Troll)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610290)

By your definition I don't believe we are intelligent. Intelligence (and sentience) are made up to justify our treatment of entities we put in other categories. We used to treat black people the way we currently treat animals, and the justification was much the same.

Re:Well, this is no good (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610310)

If we (erroneously) call what occurs today "intelligent", then if something ever really did become intelligent, what would we call it?

Skynet?

Re:Well, this is no good (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610320)

Are dogs intelligent? What about insects? Or plants?

Intelligence isn't a discrete property, nor is sapience, which I think is what you actually mean. Anyway, it's called Artificial intelligence, i.e. not real, and to answer your final question I'm inclined towards the Synthetic Intelligence moniker.

P.S. to coin a phrase: do planes fly?

Re:Well, this is no good (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610712)

"Artificial" in this context was not meant to mean "not real". It is used as in "created artificially". Look up the word "artifice".

Certainly, given research, you could call a dog or cat "intelligent" to a degree. There does seem to be a "quantity" element involved. But what I am saying is that no quantity of the quality of computing we are capable of today even remotely approaches intelligence.

Re:Well, this is no good (2, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610822)

Ahem. I did that myself and I should clarify this. "Artificial" can mean "fake", but the original meaning was "workmanship" or "craft". Created by hand.

Re:Well, this is no good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32611920)

which today more or less can be replaced by syntetic.

Artificially Something (1)

Zancarius (414244) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610340)

I prefer the term "Artificial Stupidity" or "Artificial Stupidity in Software" (ASS), but I'm afraid much of Congress wouldn't even consider funding studies in this direction for fear that they'd finally have competition.

Joking aside, that's a pet peeve I don't fully understand partially because we've already lost the war on defining "hacker;" the mainstream press has managed to twist and desecrate the latter in spite of the campaigns on our side of the fence. There isn't much hope for AI "purists" in this particular case, specifically when you consider how generic the term "AI" has become. What better term is there, anyway? Would a "question and answer simulation system" be a better fit? Statistical fact-checking device? I think AI is suitable in this case.

Really, does it matter? Our brains may be massively parallel analog devices, but when you strip away culture, creativity, insight, and all the other things that separates us from other organisms, you're really just left with a machine that responds to input (stimuli) and generates output. I guess that begs the question: What is your definition of "intelligence," and what should intelligence of the artificial sort look like?

Re:Artificially Something (1)

tnok85 (1434319) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610488)

I prefer the term "Artificial Stupidity" or "Artificial Stupidity in Software" (ASS), but I'm afraid much of Congress wouldn't even consider funding studies in this direction for fear that they'd finally have competition.

There would be no competition. I highly doubt we could create an ASS that was as dumb as Congress.

Re:Artificially Something (1)

juasko (1720212) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611988)

It's only due to lousy scientist/engineers etc that we have gotten these problems. If they only themselves would stick to the proper meanding of each word. Instead of proclaming that they been first to create life syntetically or similary we wouldn't have this problem. But these scientist exagurate the labeling of their findings, only to make a name in the comunity. E.g. this scientist who clamed that he has created life from dead matter. What he actually had done was to create at DNS strin syntetically. Still that DNA string was a direct copy of an existing DNA string of an bactery in the nature. And the cell itself that it was "injected" to was far from "unfertile" or dead in itself. If only these people who actually know what they are doing, would put their own ego away and actuall lable and describe theri findings correctly. Neither would Ai be missused nor the word hacker!

Re:Well, this is no good (5, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610346)


To call anything running on a computer today "intelligent" is to undermine the word itself. You might as well call a rock an airplane.

I didn't realize "intelligent" had such a clear definition that you could really say anything meaningful about whether a machine was "intelligent" or not.


If we (erroneously) call what occurs today "intelligent", then if something ever really did become intelligent, what would we call it?

I don't know.. perhaps we'd make a bit of progress and realize that "intelligence" isn't some nice single concept to just nail down like mass that we can all agree on what is is and isn't. We might even come up with 10 very different words to describe something we might now use the word intelligence about, since we might actually have a better grasp on what it actually is. If you ask me, intelligence is more about human ego than any real hard definitions. In many peoples minds computers can never be intelligent because it would bring our self opinions down a notch or two. That's why many people were sooo upset about Kasparov getting schooled by Deep Blue 10+ years ago, and then made up a bunch of excuses why it wasn't fair.

Whether a machine "intelligently" plays Chess, or is "intelligent" is a stupid question. What's more interesting is how we might accomplish the same task in different ways than our brains might do so. 40 years ago nobody ever thought a computer could be programmed to play even a decent game of chess. These days it's surpassed us. I think that says more about what we think is "intelligent" than anything else.

Re:Well, this is no good (2, Insightful)

bonaldo2000 (1218462) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610848)

I don't know.. perhaps we'd make a bit of progress and realize that "intelligence" isn't some nice single concept to just nail down like mass that we can all agree on what is is and isn't. We might even come up with 10 very different words to describe something we might now use the word intelligence about, since we might actually have a better grasp on what it actually is. If you ask me, intelligence is more about human ego than any real hard definitions. In many peoples minds computers can never be intelligent because it would bring our self opinions down a notch or two. That's why many people were sooo upset about Kasparov getting schooled by Deep Blue 10+ years ago, and then made up a bunch of excuses why it wasn't fair.

How convenient! A theory about intelligence which means that we have actually already created AI!

Get back to work!

Re:Well, this is no good (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611000)

Computers are not intelligent because they are unable to reason. They iterate until they achieve an optimal solution to a specific set of rules.

Ask a computer to win at chess and unless you're the next Kasparov you're going to be hammered into the ground. Ask it why chess is an important game, and you're SOOL.

Re:Well, this is no good (2, Informative)

shadow_slicer (607649) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611784)

Computers are not intelligent because they are unable to reason. They iterate until they achieve an optimal solution to a specific set of rules.

Could you define "reason"? The AI field has worked for a while (until the 80s) to build machines that reason. There were some successes with expert systems and things like that (which, given sufficient data could "reason" according to standard definition). The problem with them is that they need complete information, so they never really made it out of the lab. Current works have turned instead of "reasoning" systems to Bayesian inference engines which use complicated statistical methods and approximations to find the most likely answer. They build estimates of probability distributions based on training (equivalent to experience) and then can use them to make decisions or predictions. They are much more flexible than the reasoning machines that were build before and handle incomplete data appropriately.

These probably don't "reason" by your definition, but then again, neither does the human brain: the current understanding of cognition suggests that it is also a inference engine, making probabilistic judgments based on experience in spite of limited information.

If these methods count as AI, then AI already exists. It is used in everything from handwriting and speech recognition to ranking players on XBox Live. If you look at the tasks that AI researchers hoped to solve when research in AI began, a large number of them have been solved. So if a computer can solve a problem that was previously considered an AI problem, wouldn't it be "moving the goal posts" to say that we don't have any AI today?

Stop being dim vellmont (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32611632)

Intelligence requires thought on the part of the thing which we are assigning it to.

The computer isn't 'deciding' anything any more than the rock you stubbed your toe on 'decided' to get in your way, or your car, decided to use less fuel when you took your foot off the gas.

Computers aren't any more intelligent than is a piece of paper can be 'happy' simply because a smiley face has been drawn on it.

Re:Well, this is no good (4, Informative)

Quackers_McDuck (1367183) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610356)

As humans, we do exactly what physics mandates we do. Unless you're purporting that the human brain uses some sort of hypercomputation or that there's something special (ie outside of our current understanding of physics) about what neurons do, you're not being consistent.

That said, I understand where you're coming from; most AI research is in very narrow domains and has no intention or hopes of solving the problem of achieving human-level intelligence (Watson is an example of narrow AI, as it clearly lacks a genuine understanding of the question or the english language). But the fact remains, that is how the term AI is used.

There's a growing separation between this "Narrow AI" and the kind of AI you seem to be hoping for, Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). There are some AGI projects out there, such as the open source opencog [opencog.org] . Since there's no hope of people stopping calling things like computer chess AI, I prefer to use the term AGI whenever referencing "real" AI.

Re:Well, this is no good (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610742)

That was exactly the argument of Roger Penrose, et al., with which I strongly disagree.

They went to great lengths to show that since quantum effects are deterministic, and since thought is ultimately dependent on quantum effects, that "free will" cannot exist.

But there is a fundamental problem with that argument: in actuality, many quantum effects are not deterministic, they are probabilistic. They are not predetermined. Further, it has been proven that the presence of an observer or measurement can alter the probabilities. So the argument for predeterminacy is flawed at the deepest level.

Your choice of terminology makes sense, but to me that seems like surrender. We generally have a pretty good feel for what we mean by "intelligence", if not a strict definition, and computers today, even the big ones, are not even remotely in the running to qualify.

Re:Well, this is no good (3, Interesting)

Raptoer (984438) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610394)

To shorten your post: AIs will exist when a computer can write code for itself to run without interaction from a user. Given a problem, and having no prior knowledge of a solution, nor a way to arrive at the solution, an AI will be capable of creating a set of instructions to solve that problem.

Re:Well, this is no good (1)

Warbothong (905464) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611360)

To shorten your post: AIs will exist when a computer can write code for itself to run without interaction from a user. Given a problem, and having no prior knowledge of a solution, nor a way to arrive at the solution, an AI will be capable of creating a set of instructions to solve that problem.

That's a rather restrictive definition of intelligence, I think. How do humans solve problems we confront/are given? We certainly have prior knowledge of a solution, since we have a lifetime of experience which will no doubt include some things we think might be relevant, even if that's just how to move our arms and legs. We also have a definite way to arrive at a solution, which is to try some of those things and see what happens, then go from there. This will either make the problem unsolvable (eg. attempting brain surgery with an axe, after which we have to give up) or will bring us closer to a solution (even in the case of compounding a problem, we will know not to repeat whatever we just did, which is an improvement over our prior ignorance).

For some problems we can do this mentally by asking ourselves "What if" questions, or we might build simulations and models to help us tackle the real problem, but ultimately we're doing the same thing. After we've tried a lot of approaches (either mentally or physically) and we end up solving it, we can back-track and write down those bits which worked. These things don't seem too difficult to program, which is why AI has seemed so close for so long.

To deny a computer program these tactics by banning 'prior knowledge' and 'a way to arrive at the solution' would be unfair. For example we would deem it an unfair test of human intelligence if we sat a hunter-gatherer from 20,000 years ago in front of a calculus exam, since he has no prior knowledge of what to do; he wouldn't know how to read or write, or what those concepts even are, let alone concepts like incrementing a function's parameter by an infinitesimal amount. It requires years of education for a human's memory to incorporate such concepts, with lots of people (teachers) being paid to repeat and build up these memories every day.

However, if we gave a computer program some kind of education, for instance giving it a database containing definitions of functions, numbers, integration, differentiation, etc. and then it aced the calculus exam, there are those who would claim that it's not fair because it was 'only using its database' or 'only using logic' or some other hand-wavey statement. In fact, if we paid a multitude of people to input data into these databases every day for 10 years just to get the program to spit out correct answers to the calculus exam then many would call it a waste of time, money and effort.

Thinking about it this way though, it sheds new light on the way the education system is set up ;)

Re:Well, this is no good (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610448)

I wouldn't get too worked up about the definition of words.. The field of AI is all about algorithms which simulate intelligence, and playing chess is about practice more than intelligence anyway

Re:Well, this is no good (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610492)

What exactly is so different between a brain and a computer? Brains might still have an edge in the parallel market right now, but don't expect that to last forever. Both are computers, and both should theoretically be capable of the same things. Who's to say that in the future we won't be emulating wetware on massive synthetic computation substrates?

The only possible reason for human intelligence to be some sort of un-reachable goal for computers is some sort of non-scientific concept of a "soul". If you are going to bring religion or spirituality into it (which you are welcome to do), it seems wise to hold off of the chastising of those who don't.

Actually, people who talk about AI bug me too. It implies that there will be something fundamentally different between the various types of intelligences that will emerge. Getting "racist" about it before it even happens strikes me as ill-advised.

Re:Well, this is no good (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610754)

It's the quality of what the brain does, its ability to create inferences and free deductions (among other things) that distinguish it. That's what I was saying: the human (or other evolved organic) brain does not just execute the same simple instructions over and over again. There is a fundamental difference in how they operate, and the attempts to simulate one using the other has so far fallen pretty flat. And that's understandable, because they just don't work the same way.

Re:Well, this is no good (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32611732)

Neurons do execute an absolutely simple instruction over and over again, until they die. The human brain is the perfect practical proof that indeed, trivial components in sufficiently large quantities can make a qualitative difference, for example, the human and rat brains differ by just a order of magnitude, but are able to achieve qualitatively much superior results.

We haven't yet built a nearly large enough computer to do the same things on the scale of human brains, though - and even when we do make a fully human-level general intelligence, then it will need (according to how homo sapiens operate) a couple of years of practice until the new can understand simple words, a dozen years until it starts really understanding complex problems, and twenty one years until it will be able to decide if should be drinking alcohol). Well, kidding on the last part, but pretty much so.

Re:Well, this is no good (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610498)

"If we (erroneously) call what occurs today "intelligent", then if something ever really did become intelligent, what would we call it?"

Ludakruss.

Re:Well, this is no good (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610568)

you're right, of course. COMPUTERS are not intelligent. However, some algorithms are based on models of intelligent behaviour. Whether or not you are using hardware that can rewire itself, as long as the code can rewrite itself you are dealing with some type of intelligence, simulated by a "stupid" computer. I can't really speak about this "Watson" thing, because I didn't read the article. But when your algorithm uses neural networks that have to be trained, you simulate a system that changes its behaviour according to a system of values (while training); it is true that once trained, if it can no longer rewrite itself, it's just a function taking an array of bits and returning another array of bits.

What we need is a proper definition of the term "intelligence". I agree that, like in computational physics, we are currently just making simulations of intelligent systems. In physics, it can be determined when an experiment would have the same outcome as a simulation; in the same way, algorithms can be "intelligent".

Re:Well, this is no good (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610794)

And that is my point in a nutshell: what we could really use is a precise definition of intelligence. But I am of the opinion that when one really thinks about it, what one means by "intelligence" is not what is being accomplished by these "AI" systems, even if the popular press calls them that.

Re:Well, this is no good (1)

thomst (1640045) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611234)

To call anything running on a computer today "intelligent" is to undermine the word itself. You might as well call a rock an airplane.

Well, there WAS an Airplane that rocked. Does that count?

Re:Well, this is no good (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611690)

You should have started with some definition of intelligence. I define it as the ability to solve problems, so yeah, those machines are intelligent.

Re:Well, this is no good (2, Insightful)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611872)

The real issue is that AI research has mainly discovered that Intelligence is not well defined, and everything we thought was difficult (e.g. Playing chess) is relatively easy, and everything we thought was easy (e.g. Understanding Human Language) is horrifically difficult

A human child can walk, see interact and understand it's environment, hold a conversation ... none of these can be done even more than adequately by machines .. (Walking is ahead of the rest so far) but a cheap chess computer can beat most people, including most Grand Masters the majority of the time

Re:Well, this is no good (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610184)

Chess has finally been solved to the point that there's now unbeatable AIs available to the average user (assuming it gets to move first)...

No, checkers has been solved [sciencemag.org] to that point. The solution is available online. [ualberta.ca] Perfect play leads to a draw.

Computer chess is merely at the point that if you haven't been on the cover of Chess Life, you're going to get trounced. Even if you have, you're going to lose more than you win. The current situation is that Deep Rybka 2010 [chesscentral.com] has an ELO rating around 3150. That's running on a 4-core AMD-64 desktop machine. The all-time human record is 2851, which Garry Kasparov had in 1999-2000.

Re:Well, this is no good (1)

HuguesT (84078) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610510)

The ELO ranking of machines is not really directly comparable to humans, because machines play a lot more between themselves than with humans. This is what the wikipedia page has to say about the ELO ranking of machines :

These ratings, although calculated by using the Elo system (or similar rating methods), have no direct relation to FIDE Elo ratings or to other chess federation ratings of human players. Except for some man versus machine games which the SSDF had organized many years ago (which were far from today's level), there is no calibration between any of these rating lists and player pools. Hence, the results which matter are the ranks and the differences between the ratings, not the absolute level of the numbers. Nevertheless, in view of recent man versus machine matches, it is generally undisputed that the top computer chess ratings should be at least in the range of top human performances, and probably significantly higher.

Re:Well, this is no good (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610528)

I wonder what ELO a computer be if it had to be brute force each move (breadth first) rather than rely on particular insights, position rating, and branch pruning, etc.

Re:Well, this is no good (3, Interesting)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610600)

It's impossible to fully all possible games of chess. The game tree complexity is about 10^123, whereas the number of atoms in the universe is thought to be somewhere between 10^79 and 10^81. Thus, it's impossible to brute force the game since you can't store all the possible states.

If, however, we ignore this, then the answer to your question would be "it depends on how fast it could calculate the results." Some hypothetical computer with sufficient memory and a sufficiently fast processor would be unbeatable using a brute force algorithm by the definition of brute forcing. However, as already explained the "sufficient memory" part is pretty much impossible

Re:Well, this is no good (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610656)

Yes, I meant on today's speed/RAM computers...

Re:Well, this is no good (2, Interesting)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610704)

It's impossible to fully all possible games of chess. The game tree complexity is about 10^123, whereas the number of atoms in the universe is thought to be somewhere between 10^79 and 10^81. Thus, it's impossible to brute force the game since you can't store all the possible states.

While you're right that it's impossible, the reason you give is wrong: You wouldn't have to store all the possible states at once. After you've determined that you cannot win with a certain move, you don't need to store all those states this move can lead to. And if you determined a winning move, you only have to store the sequence of winning moves. The real problem is time. Even if you could check one move per Planck time (the shortest possible time interval, ca. 5*10^-44s), you'd still need about 5*10^79 seconds, or about 1.5*10^72 years. For comparison, the universe is about 1.5*10^9 years old.

Re:Well, this is no good (2, Funny)

bertok (226922) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610940)

The real problem is time. Even if you could check one move per Planck time (the shortest possible time interval, ca. 5*10^-44s), you'd still need about 5*10^79 seconds, or about 1.5*10^72 years. For comparison, the universe is about 1.5*10^9 years old.

You're forgetting that speed and parallelism aren't mutually exclusive!

If you could somehow convert all of the matter in the universe into a massively parallel computer running at that speed, with each CPU having a budget of ~40 million particles, then you'd have a computer that could play chess perfectly, providing each move in about 24 hours at first, and then probably speeding up a bit as the game progresses and there's less of the state space to check.

Your homework for tonight is to build two such computers using different methods, and compare the relative merits of each solution. Show your work.

Re:Well, this is no good (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32611918)

It's impossible to fully all possible games of chess.

Only if you're trying. On the other hand, I accidentally all possible games of chess.

Re:Well, this is no good (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610162)

Because different problems require different ways to answer them. 'Watson' seems to be able to handle information based questions by searching for certain pieces of information based on what it already knowns (so no true 'problem solving by the looks of it, still reading the article), but by the sounds of it, it can't handle 'visual' questions (like looking at a banana and an orange and telling the difference). That takes a different type of problem solving. 'Lucy' [radio-weblogs.com] on the other hand was supposed to be able to handle how to tell the difference between items without resorting to backup information which seems to be completely different then what 'Watson' can do, but 'Lucy' couldn't ever answer the questions 'Watson' can.

I'll be impressed (5, Interesting)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610054)

If it can properly rate if these people are hot or not [hotornot.com] .

Re:I'll be impressed (1)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610078)

Wouldn't be hard.. just use the Golden Ratio on their faces.

Re:I'll be impressed (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610388)

also how symmetrical their main features are and the ratios between them as per above.

Re:I'll be impressed (1)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611562)

Women have faces? I've been doing this all wrong.

Back to the drawing board (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610086)

Watson has competed in and won a majority of (mock) matches against humans in Jeopardy.

Against mock humans? I killed it, easily.

        Brett

Re:Back to the drawing board (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610112)

Yeah beat it pretty badly.

Re:Back to the drawing board (1)

brianerst (549609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610362)

It was ridiculously easy to beat - so much so that I wondered if there was something wrong with the website. My final score was 59-11, and that was only because I typoed two of the answers (Watson is, I'm sure, a much better typist than me).

Even when I mentally tried to score it for "late" correct/incorrect answers (the website shows you Watson's answer even if you answer correctly), I'm pretty sure Watson would have ended up in the high-teens.

I once owned a Viszla named Watson - I'm not sure, but I think the dog might have eked out a better score...

Re:Back to the drawing board (2, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611842)

I killed it, too, but mainly because of the rules of the game in which I get first crack at the answer.

Still, I think the point is that it's impressive the number of questions it gets right. I really didn't miss very many. My mental tally had it getting around 70% or so, which is pretty damn good. I got around 80%, but again, I had first crack at the answer, so Watson could have only possibly scored around 20% of the answers at best. If it tallied your score and Watson's score without actually competing head-to-head, that probably would have been a more interesting challenge. Keep in mind that as a computer, if the programmers chose to do so, they could probably have Watson answering everything pretty much simultaneously. Also, Jeopardy! is a lot about timing, hitting that button as soon as the buttons are unlocked, so in that respect, Watson probably really could kick ass in that its reaction time will always be faster than yours.

Just because I won doesn't make the technology not interesting or significant. Frankly, I'm impressed that it's even able to answer 20% of the questions expressed in natural language correctly.

I have only one question... (5, Funny)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610102)

What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Re:I have only one question... (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610126)

What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

African or European?

Re:I have only one question... (2, Funny)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610172)

I don' t know that... AAAARGH!

Re:I have only one question... (3, Funny)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610138)

Was this bird affected by the BP oil spill or not?

Re:I have only one question... (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610328)

If it has been then the breed doesn't matter: from what I read those birds that Hollywood stars clean for publicity only live a few days anyway with all the oil they've ingested from trying to clean themselves.

Re:I have only one question... (1)

jprupp (697660) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610284)

What do you mean? American or European?

Re:I have only one question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32610302)

I'm sorry, your question must be in the form of an answer.

Re:I have only one question... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610334)

This is Jeopardy. You give the answer and it is supposed to give the question.
Now what question has the answer 42?

Re:I have only one question... (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610474)

what is 41+1?

Re:I have only one question... (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610810)

what is 41+1?

It's "What do you get if you multiply six by nine?", RTFB.

Re:I have only one question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32611824)

I'll get back to you on that one... just wait for it.

Re:I have only one question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32610722)

I have only one answer.

Re:I have only one question... (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#32612076)

Harry lied to you, Norman. Everything Harry says is a lie. Remember that, Norman. *Everything* he says is a lie...

But would it be able to answer this question? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32610170)

Capital, not as in letter, of the state ending with Jersey which begins with New, is what?

Re:But would it be able to answer this question? (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610434)

I'm not so sure most New Jersey-ians would get that correct either

RTFA, Jesus (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611188)

If you had even read the first 3 paras of the article, you would know that YES it can answer questions posed like that. The whole point of WATSON is that it has very advanced natural language processing, enough that it can even understand the puns and strange grammar of jeopardy questions.

Here's a Jeopardy! hint. (0)

ianezz (31449) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610220)

The answer is 42.

Re:Here's a Jeopardy! hint. (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610236)

{buzzes in}

What is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?

Re:Here's a Jeopardy! hint. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610342)

This answer is wrong. The correct solution would have been:
What is the answer to life, the universe and everything?

Re:Here's a Jeopardy! hint. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32610418)

This answer is wrong. The correct solution would have been:
What is the answer to life, the universe and everything?

wrong again:

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

Re:Here's a Jeopardy! hint. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610570)

This answer is wrong. The correct solution would have been:
What is the answer to life, the universe and everything?

wrong again:

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

No.

"O Deep Thought Computer," he said, "the task we have designed you to
perform is this. We want you to tell us..." he paused, "...the Answer!"
"The answer?" said Deep Thought. "The answer to what?"
"Life!" urged Fook.
"The Universe!" said Lunkwill.
"Everything!" they said in chorus.

No "meaning of" in there.

Re:Here's a Jeopardy! hint. (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610306)

Does it become 84 if it's behind the Daily Double?

Re:Here's a Jeopardy! hint. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610350)

What do you get if you multiply six with nine?

Re:Here's a Jeopardy! hint. (1)

pal3f (1094703) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610444)

What do you get if you multiply six with nine?

I have a feeling you're going to want to take this one back ;)

Re:Here's a Jeopardy! hint. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610644)

What do you get if you multiply six with nine?

I have a feeling you're going to want to take this one back ;)

I have a feeling you might want to read Douglas Adams. :-)

Re:Here's a Jeopardy! hint. (1)

pal3f (1094703) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611102)

Yeah, after I posted that it occurred to me that it may be a quote or literary reference rather than late-night math. I once had friend try to tell me -- very poorly and at excruciating length -- all about The Hitchhiker's Guide, which completely killed any interest I may have otherwise had of ever thinking of it again, much less reading it. Unfortunately this can be something of a handicap here on slashdot!

can it answer this? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32610344)

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Re:can it answer this? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610354)

What is an example of a tongue twister?

Re:can it answer this? (1)

Yaos (804128) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611488)

A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck wood.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32610440)

Why is there nothing interesting anymore on /.?
Just news from yesterday...

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611542)

You seem to have difficulty with maintaining interest. Would you like to meet Eliza.

Yours truly, Clippy.

ELIZA (1)

Izabael_DaJinn (1231856) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610496)

I wonder if a website where people subscribed to artificial friends, shrinks, lovers would be a viable business model if it was as good at mimicking these things in conversations. An Eliza frontend on this Jeopardy beast might work. Plus Eliza was always giving questions as answers too!! I'd rather talk to a computer program about certain things anyway......and this one *would* be connected to the internet and would hone into your tastes quickly.

Re:ELIZA (1)

f3rret (1776822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32610660)

I would visit the site seeing as how I have no real friends.

Microsoft Sam is my only true friend.

easteregg (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32611248)

use answer "iced!!!" or "pwned!!!" for a silly reply :P

Odd metric (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32611398)

I could make a program that could beat people in a mock jeapordy contest too if I controlled the categories....

It's not "thinking" of the answer... (1)

(VerbalKint)12345 (304323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611516)

"The question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim."

-Edsger W. Dijkstra

elementary dear watson (1)

youn (1516637) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611536)

the answer is 42 :)

How infuriatinly Americo-centric (0, Offtopic)

BeardsmoreA (951706) | more than 4 years ago | (#32611806)

If the sample questions I just tried are anything to go by, and they've been running this thing against a variety of international volunteers online (I've no idea if this is the case), then damn right it's going to win - practically every question needed some knowledge of modern US brands/media/folklore. That ignores the fact that you need to know a bit about the premise of jeopardy to play, but I can forgive that. I just kept seeing the correct answer and thinking 'oh right. who?'

37-18 (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32612022)

Eat that, you big blue lump of metal!

(And it took me two questions what the hell how "before and after" worked)

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?