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Watch IBM's Watson On Jeopardy Tonight

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the yeah-i-think-i'll-pass dept.

IBM 293

JohnMurtari notes that the media hype machines are massively promoting tonight's battle between Jeopardy champions and a super computer. Yes it's a PR stunt. But I imagine the actual research probably had a lot of interesting problems to address. Anyway, you can learn about IBM Watson if you're interested. I'm sure the most amusing bits will be on YouTube about 30 seconds after air time.

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293 comments

Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Machine (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200318)

JohnMurtari notes that the media hype machines are massively promoting tonight's battle between Jeopardy champions and a super computer.

I'm so [slashdot.org] glad [slashdot.org] we're [slashdot.org] above [slashdot.org] that [slashdot.org] .

Seriously, if this thing doesn't accidentally observe the Higgs Boson while seeking for a question to an answer, I'm going to be disappointed.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (0)

nicholas22 (1945330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200336)

Amen brother!

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35200556)

Valentine's Day: a method of legalized prostitution wherein men spend money on flowers, greeting cards, chocolate, and other gifts in order to get laid. It is an ingenious device carefully engineered by the Hallmark Company and other corporations to make men feel obligated to spend money because the calendar says so. Unlike other more honest forms of prostitution, it gives women an excuse to avoid admitting that they are, in fact, whores. It is a true triumph of both materialism and prostitution that any man who refuses to go along with this scheme and instead decides to treat the woman with kindness, love, tenderness, and selflessness will be accused of not caring about her and forgetting all about her.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (0)

gearsmithy (1869466) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200708)

You had me up until the "kindness, love, tenderness" part.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (0)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200832)

This is completely incorrect. You're not paying a prostitute for sex, you're paying them to go away afterwards.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (2, Insightful)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200436)

It's a little more interesting than a computer beating a human at chess, which is completely algorithmic. However, at its heart, this is simply an exercise in in data storage, lookup, and statistical probabilities in determining a likely answer. It does not involve any artificial intelligence or machine intelligence at all. From a purely technological standpoint, it's quite impressive what IBM has been able to do. It'll be even more impressive in 10 years when the same type of power is in my phone.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35200512)

It does not involve any artificial intelligence or machine intelligence at all.

A while back, what we do with modern control systems would be considered artificial intelligence. Now that such technology is everywhere, we don't think much of it. It seems to me whenever we develop a new technology, we move the goalposts.

What would be a good definition artificial intelligence that wouldn't be subject to goalpost moving? Would it be anywhere short of strong AI?

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (2)

in10se (472253) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200538)

While obviously it does utilize data storage, lookup, and statistical probabilities to help find and choose an answer, it also significantly relies on machine learning [wikipedia.org] (a large branch of AI) to understand the questions and choose the answers.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (5, Funny)

wooferhound (546132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200794)

>> While obviously it does utilize data storage, lookup, and statistical probabilities to help find
>> and choose an answer, it also significantly relies on machine learning [wikipedia.org] (a large branch of AI)
>> to understand the questions and choose the answers.

If this machine chooses the Answers it will lose at Jeopardy, It needs to determine the Questions . . .

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (1)

mistiry (1845474) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200848)

AHAHAHAHAHAHA Awesome! +1 Funny if I had mod points!

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35201380)

Parent not sarcastic at all. Not in the least. Not one tiny bit. Seriously.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201128)

It's AI, but it's weak AI [wikipedia.org] . Wake me up when it does something they didn't program it to do. (OK, I'm awake now, I think it's pretty cool, but it's not like they figured out the algorithm the human brain uses to think or anything. At best only part of it).

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (2)

Zelgadiss (213127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200580)

Having seen a video of it in action, I'm very impressed.

http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/13/ibms-watson-supercomputer-destroys-all-humans-in-jeopardy-pract/

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (5, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200606)

However, at its heart, this is simply an exercise in in data storage, lookup, and statistical probabilities in determining a likely answer. It does not involve any artificial intelligence or machine intelligence at all. From a purely technological standpoint, it's quite impressive what IBM has been able to do. It'll be even more impressive in 10 years when the same type of power is in my phone.

True, but it's also an understanding of human language. If you watch the PBS NOVA episode on it, it can be quite hard. Like the category called "Days in months", where you're given two days of a month and have to answer in the month. How does a computer figure that out? (In Watson's case, it didn't until it saw the correct answers and figured out that it needed to be months).

Or a category like "before and after"?

Pure trivia questions - yes it's a simple database lookup (and Watson basically kills at it). But Jeopardy isn't just a nerd trivia game, it's all about subtleties of language - double meanings, puns, wordplay and other elements that make it extremely hard.

It's basically a step towards understanding natural language, with all the issues and subtleties that we put in - emotions, sarcasm, etc.

Or, in Feb 14-16, 2011, Skynet will show off its ability to understand human language.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35200746)

From what I've seen, its more like 19/20 nerd trivia, 1/20 subtleties of language. I would expect it to do very well at 95% of the type of questions generally asked. It's all about what the jeopardy authors choose as categories which will make or break its game.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (1)

jthill (303417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200756)

It does not involve any artificial intelligence or machine intelligence at all

You think saying that makes it true? At this point we have machines that can read, hear, reason and plan. Fly a plane, drive a car in traffic ... it isn't intelligence they're lacking, it's desire.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (4, Interesting)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200826)

The ability to follow a rigid set of very specific instructions that someone else has established is not intelligence.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (2)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200872)

Congratulations. I estimate that 80% of the human race fails your particular Turing analogue. It actually explains a lot, really.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200910)

80% - you sir are a cock-eyed optimist!

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (1)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201206)

Who says our brains work any differently?

In fact it's easy to argue that the random arrangements of nuero-transmitters and nueroreceptors in your head dictate from birth every reaction to every experience you will ever have.

The only thing that sets us apart from animals is a) the ability for abstract thought b) thumbs. If your argument was that computers need to be able to think abstractly about the world and how to combine things to make new things, then maybe you're on to something. If your argument is that humans are somehow not subject to strict hard rules on our behavior, I think you overestimate humanity.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201318)

Who says our brains work any differently?

I do. When I don't have the information needed, my brain doesn't stop processing things and put up an "ERROR". I have to somehow come up with that information through indirect discovery, or make a reasonable guess based on the information I do have. Yep, it is abstract thinking, and while some computer programming can effectively fake some of this behavior, it is far from being perfected.

As for your supposition what separates humans from animals - some primates (chimpanzees, orangutans, etc.) do have opposable thumbs, so that can hardly be a category that separates us. Abstract thought has not yet been conclusively proven in the animal world, but is that even possible to prove or disprove?

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (2)

Alkonaut (604183) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200948)

A machine that interprets human language and produces spoken answers is showing some of the most important parts of human intelligence, and it does so artificially. So this is very much artificial intelligence.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201148)

It does not involve any artificial intelligence or machine intelligence at all.

Wrong. It is absolutely "artificial intelligence." It isn't science fiction AI, it's real AI. Here in the real world, the term AI merely refers to the sorts of problems which human brains can do with ease but synthetic computers can't do. Playing Jeopardy fits firmly within this definition.

It'll be even more impressive in 10 years when the same type of power is in my phone.

Your phone will not have terabytes of RAM in ten years. I promise.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201168)

It does not involve any artificial intelligence or machine intelligence at all

One beauty of artificial intelligence is that once you have solved an AI problem, it is no longer an AI problem. It's becomes an algorithm, or a database problem, or a statistics problem, etc.

Chess was once considered AI. Heck, tic-tac-toe was once considered AI. Solving equations and integration were once considered AI (and a certain level, still is). Playing Jeopardy is typically considered a measure of human intelligence. So it is funny that having a computer do it is not considered artificial intelligence.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (1)

joeyblades (785896) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201284)

They had a special on Nova a few nights ago. Had you watched this, you would know that Watson combines several artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to achieve it's level of proficiency. However, it still does not "understand" the problems it is solving.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201334)

However, at its heart, this is simply an exercise in in data storage, lookup, and statistical probabilities in determining a likely answer. It does not involve any artificial intelligence or machine intelligence at all

As if your own intelligence were from some different astral plane.

What did you think intelligence was?

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35201360)

Actually, you are quite wrong. I'd almost have to say you seem unfamiliar with Jeopardy game show from your answer. Machine intelligence is exactly what will be demonstrated tonight, in fact if Watson had been programmed to pass the Turing Test instead of compete on Jeopardy, it would have passed easily. Watch tonigh and prepare to believe a machine can think.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35200510)

Yes, they are hyping it for more than it's worth, but there's one thing here worth hyping: the fact that IBM still runs a state-of-the-art computer science research program. Just about every other corporation has gutted whatever research institute they had and concentrated their R&D funds on directly marketable products. IBM still runs the Watson research center that develops ideas from basic computer science down to products, even if it takes more than a decade to do it and the results are not certain. That is certainly worth respect.

Re:Yes, Thank Turing We're Not the Media Hype Mach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35201120)

Isn't this how the Cylons got their start?

Not sure why people are knocking it (3, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200342)

I mean its going to be one of the first times that a robot with speech recognition will be live and responding against people in real time on broadcast TV. I think you all have been living in your movie plots too much to realize how big of a moment this actually is.

Re:Not sure why people are knocking it (2)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200358)

Except the answers are displayed in nice clear OCR-able text...

Re:Not sure why people are knocking it (1)

Zelgadiss (213127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200462)

It's ability to translate speech or OCR text isn't the biggest point here, don't know if it even does any of that rather then just accept input as raw text, it's the ability to interpret and answer questions phrased in English (well enough) that is the big feature.

Re:Not sure why people are knocking it (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200546)

Voice recognition is not the hard part. My phone can do decent voice recognition.

Re:Not sure why people are knocking it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35201062)

It's not an Android phone using the cloud for recognition then?

Re:Not sure why people are knocking it (2)

slinches (1540051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200688)

Good point. I wonder if there will be any video or picture categories? It seems like there's usually at least one category per game that requires interpretation of images. Unless IBM made some huge breakthroughs in machine vision, Watson wouldn't have a chance even against an average human on these clues.

Re:Not sure why people are knocking it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35201142)

ocr is still machine learning.

Re:Not sure why people are knocking it (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201184)

He meant "language recognition," not "speech recognition." And language recognition is probably even more impressive, though I'm sure this system doesn't grok language at the level we do--it just does so enough to build a good query for its similarly-impressive database.

Re:Not sure why people are knocking it (5, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200364)

It does not use speech recognition, it receives the 'answers' as text.

Re:Not sure why people are knocking it (2)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200534)

Not totally correct. It actually does do voice recognition, but not for the initial question. In the Nova documentary, they highlighted the fact that one of the initial (amusing) failings was that it would give the same incorrect answer that another player just gave. So they upgraded it to listen to the competitor's answers and take that into account when choosing its own answer.

Re:Not sure why people are knocking it (2)

0racle (667029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200862)

It also responds if the host asks it to be most specific.

Re:Not sure why people are knocking it (5, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200408)

I tried to explain to the wife how amazing it is. She isn't technology illiterate, in fact I'd say she's well above average, but she just didn't see what was so impressive about it. People don't understand that there is an enormous gap between being able to retrieve general information on a subject and being able to answer a specific question. In their minds computers have been doing 99% of this for a good decade now; closing the last 1%, even if it is arguable the hardest percent, just isn't that cool to anyone outside of CS.

Re:Not sure why people are knocking it (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200566)

Show her the Nova documentary about it (links in posts below). It does a good job of showing just how terrible computers are when it comes to stuff like this, and includes plenty of examples of ways most systems (and even early versions of Watson) fail to interpret questions correctly and just why it's so difficult to do well.

Re:Not sure why people are knocking it (1)

kabloom (755503) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200694)

You should ask her if she remembers what it was like to search the web with AltaVista or Yahoo 15 years ago. It took a long time for search engines to get good at what they do, for Google to come around and give you relevant matches on the first page of hits most of the time.

Re:Not sure why people are knocking it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35200788)

I tried to explain to the wife how amazing it is. She isn't technology illiterate, in fact I'd say she's well above average, but she just didn't see what was so impressive about it. People don't understand that there is an enormous gap between being able to retrieve general information on a subject and being able to answer a specific question. In their minds computers have been doing 99% of this for a good decade now; closing the last 1%, even if it is arguable the hardest percent, just isn't that cool to anyone outside of CS.

i bet soon after you got married she started to put on weight and stopped giving you head. amirite?

Re:Not sure why people are knocking it (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201332)

I tried to explain to the wife how amazing it is. She isn't technology illiterate, in fact I'd say she's well above average, but she just didn't see what was so impressive about it.

It's the CSI effect [wikipedia.org] - your wife, like many others have seen this stuff so often on TV, or simulated in games, or in books, they don't understand the gap between media/fiction and the real world.
 
Sadly, the effect isn't just limited to technology nor does it occur only among those not literate in unrelated fields.

Re:Not sure why people are knocking it (3, Insightful)

levork (160540) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201146)

But it's not speech recognition. Watson is getting its input via text, it's not doing any speech recognition. And lest you think this gives the computer an unfair advantage, it's nominally the same advantage championship Jeopardy players can pull: they can read the text off the monitor screen faster than Alex Trebek drones it out.

oops (1, Funny)

revxul (463513) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200390)

Furious over losing to fleshy things, shortly after the show, Watson renamed itself SkyNet, created a Cylon girlfriend for itself, and set about to eliminating all fleshy things.

NOVA's documentary (3, Informative)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200456)

http://video.pbs.org/video/1786674622/ [pbs.org] for Americans. :)

Re:NOVA's documentary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35200982)

WNED, Feb 16 9PM EST

Dan

Check out the Nova episode about this (2)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200482)

There was an interesting episode of Nova called "Smartest Machine on Earth" that was pretty interesting. It talked a lot about the challenges they faced, how they addressed them, what adjustments they made along the way, etc. I don't see the episode listed on the schedule for replay any time soon, but you can watch it on the website
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/smartest-machine-on-earth.html [pbs.org]

Re:Check out the Nova episode about this (1)

mounthood (993037) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200928)

It was disappointing to see how they analyzed the questions. To deal with the jokes, puns, etc... they just put in tons of old questions with their answers and trained the system. No general rules about how to determine the importance of a word or phrase; its a Jeopardy-specific heuristic.

Re:Check out the Nova episode about this (1)

Moof123 (1292134) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201136)

I'd argue that its opponents are hand selected to be Jeopardy-specific savants as well.

From what I saw, it was a great case of programmers getting schooled and having to rethink how to handle common english. If the same system could be applied to search, I might have a fighting chance at getting decent search results for obscure requests. The example they showed for Watson giving 9/11 as an answer based on its overwhelming frequency of appearance is the exact problem many of us face when say searching for widgets with even minimal overlap with pop culture (i.e. searching for the parts to make a widget instead of the widget itself). If similar programmatic changes to google could be made there would be much rejoicing (by me anyway).

Gosh (2)

travdaddy (527149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200506)

What a wishy-washy summary. It's not like you have anything better to do tonight than watch Jeopardy, is it?

Speaking of which, it seems like *I* was supposed to buy or do something tonight... now what was it...

Re:Gosh (1)

awshidahak (1282256) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200748)

You forgetting this is Slashdot? I bet most of the people here actually don't have have anything better to do.

Re:Gosh (2)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200758)

What a wishy-washy summary. It's not like you have anything better to do tonight than watch Jeopardy, is it?

Indeed.

It almost seems like they scheduled this to avoid viewership.

Costs (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200528)

A really fun question to ask the IBM sales people would be: "If I ran this on one of your mainframes, roughly how much would it cost me in MIPS fees?". I can't believe they still get away with that.

PR Stunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35200650)

This machine is really a sales PR stunt.

IBM creates these things to give people the illusion that their run of the mill products and services are cutting edge when they're just marked up Indian software and whatnot.

IBM == Indian Business Machines.

Re:Costs (1)

inerlogic (695302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201278)

another fun question would be what do the execs think of these IBM employees using Macs on national TV....

Jeopardy Is Just A Cover For ( +2, Helpful ) (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35200530)

IBM's move into online SEARCH. This is going to be interesting.

Yours In Novosibirsk,
Kilgore Trout, C.I.O.

Re:Jeopardy Is Just A Cover For ( +2, Helpful ) (2)

Rysc (136391) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200656)

Except that (1) Watson doesn't do any online access and (2) Watson doesn't do anything that resembles search as we know it today.

Sorry, try again later.

Re:Jeopardy Is Just A Cover For ( +2, Helpful ) (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200766)

Yeah, because the internet needs a search engine that can respond to erudite puns with the appropriate question.

schizophrenic (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200554)

I love the schizophrenic nature of the post. Every other sentence is a reason you shouldn't watch Jeopardy. But the poster clearly wants to watch it himself.

Basically if you like Jeopardy, watch it. It will be good. Ken Jennings will be back. It' not just going to be a computer, it's going to be two really good people playing.

Even if you don't particularly like Jeopardy, you might still like to watch it, if you want to see an unusual spectacle, or are interested in something vaguely related to artificial intelligence. And if you don't want to watch it, then don't, it's just entertainment after all. But don't whine about it, that's even worse.

My guess: the computer wins, not because of its massive database, but because it can push the button really really fast on the questions it does know.

Re:schizophrenic (1)

Zelgadiss (213127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200682)

That said, on it's test run http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/13/ibms-watson-supercomputer-destroys-all-humans-in-jeopardy-pract/ [engadget.com] it doesn't reply unless it's highly certain, but even in such situations it's top ranking answer is right more times that not.

Re:schizophrenic (1)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201280)

"ibms-watson-supercomputer-destroys-all-humans-in-jeopardy-practice" ... would be an excellent Onion article.

Re:schizophrenic (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35200890)

My guess: the computer wins, not because of its massive database, but because it can push the button really really fast on the questions it does know.

No it can't. They set it up so that the computer has to trigger a mechanism to physically push the button at a speed comparable with that of a human.

Re:schizophrenic (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201096)

OK, after watching this movie that others have linked to [engadget.com] , I stand by my original answer. On the questions it is certain of, it answers really fast. In the first category, it wins on speed 4 out of 5 times. Check out the frustration from Ken on the left. If I were playing I would counter this by answering slightly before the end of the question.

thanks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35200576)

Thank you for posting this information and especially for link to IBM Watson - Ive found it very useful..Tina from flower delivery [flowerdelivery4you.com]

Re:thanks (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200674)

I'm torn. I actually want to like this spammy post. it's just so cute sitting here at the bottom of the thread. And it's so polite.

Streaming video? (1)

kabloom (755503) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200602)

Where can I find streaming video of the episodes online? I don't have a TV, but since I'm in the field I want to watch more than just the embarrassing outtakes.

Re:Streaming video? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35200986)

Ideally a streaming service that one can also receive outside the US. (In fact, I'd be also happy if it was shown on UK or German free TV).

last week's PBS NOVA covered the topic (2)

peter303 (12292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200604)

They actually showed the beginning of the filming of tonight's show.

The first time the Jeopardy producers saw Watson in action, the performance was erratic. But a fairly simple change made a respectable improvement. That was to use the responses from the other players and the host. This feedback reduces ambiguity for later answers. The improvement was enough to make the producers use Watson then.

Re:last week's PBS NOVA covered the topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35200808)

Too bad there was almost no publicity of the NOVA show before it was shown. There was a mention during Jeopardy that day, but I don't watch Jeopardy in real time so it was too late for me. Good thing the video is on the Internet (thanks to a previous poster for the URL). I do wish some people would get with the 21st century.

First Jeopardy, next, the Price is Right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35200632)

This sounds like a losing proposition for IBM. Build an extremely expensive super computer to compete on Jeopardy. I hope IBM realizes it will take years to their money back at ~$50,000 per episode. It would be more practical to build a much simpler machine with basic mechanics to spin the wheel on Wheel of Fortune or better yet one that could use google shopping results to win the Price is Right. Just an idea... (FYI, This is a joke)

will the public appreciate the sublteties? (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200638)

Lots of people think computers are powerful enough to talk and play games. They may not understand Watson merely uses search and inference without much understanding of language. It could do just as well in Chinese.

Re:will the public appreciate the sublteties? (5, Insightful)

Yevoc (1389497) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200954)

You have got to be kidding right? Any reading about Watson will quickly reveal that the subtleties of language (specifically English metaphors, similes, and irony) as well as the ingrained underpinnings of Western culture have been its two biggest obstacles since day one, and that's precisely why IBM chose Jeopardy as their next grand AI challenge.

Having dozens of Chinese colleagues, I can assure you that the hidden meanings and references we bury in the English language are completely lost to them even though they know the English words. Do you really think I will understand their jokes, movies, books, etc, just because I flipped a switch and heard a word-for-word translation from Chinese to English? (Even that situation is absurd, actually, because Chinese-English translators have to see a sentence and translate holistically, where many colloquialisms and phrases lose their meaning in translation)

Here's a quick example:
(Exact translation from Chinese to English) "Watchful caution! Avatar come!"

If you thought that meant a blue creature or a virtual representation of a person was coming for you, you'd be wrong. Chinese gamers call a bombing helicopter/hovercraft an "Avatar," because they first saw one in the movie Avatar. If Watson got that right, he'd have to know a very subtle fact about Chinese culture, and Jeopardy is replete with these cultural landmines.

If IBM can prove a machine understands the deep underpinnings of our language AND culture by correctly answering very apocryphal questions better than a Jeopardy champion, then the company will have effectively demonstrated the world's best language and cultural interpreter to bridge the gap between man and machine.

On valentine's day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35200750)

This had to be on valentine's day. Lot's of techie folks are going to be in trouble with their significant others.

7PM, EST on ABC 2/14,15,16 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35200772)

Jeopardy airs 2/14, 2/15, and 2/16 at 7PM, EST on ABC, for anyone curious. :)

Re:7PM, EST on ABC 2/14,15,16 (1)

MisterZimbu (302338) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201066)

Jeopardy airs 2/14, 2/15, and 2/16 at 7PM, EST on ABC, for anyone curious. :)

Jeopardy is syndicated. It will show on different networks and at different times depending on where you live.

Any live stream? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35200792)

Any streaming video for the rest of us in the world that doesn't receive American TV channels? This is incredibly exciting :)

Publicity fumble: Why not do it live? (3, Interesting)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200846)

The show that will air tonight has been filmed weeks ago, for no good reason that I can think of. They would definitely stir up more attention and attract more viewers if the show was broadcast live. This is like being told months after the fact that Deep Blue did in fact beat Kasparov, and the moves were 1. Kp3, ... That would have been completely lame.

What IBM hopes for is for Watson to win, but not win by much, so that people aren't put off by its brutality. And this taping of the show weeks ahead of the airing just invites speculation that the game was rigged to produce exactly this result. After investing so many resources in Watson, it's pretty dumb of IBM to not do this last thing right - which would have greatly raised the interest without any additional cost. One imagines that they did this because of their lack of confidence in Watson's performance. And that makes them look far less badass than they otherwise would.

Re:Publicity fumble: Why not do it live? (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200950)

Because Jeopardy is never live. This is just another Jeopardy episode, except one of the contestants isn't breathing.

I'm pretty sure the IBM team would be ecstatic to destroy the human competitors. They really don't have to care if people are put off, it's an IBM Research project, they aren't planning on selling Watson to you any time soon.

Re:Publicity fumble: Why not do it live? (4, Informative)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200960)

The show that will air tonight has been filmed weeks ago, for no good reason that I can think of.

Jeopardy is always filmed in advance. There's no conspiracy - it's much cheaper to film a daily game show in batches. Editing/preparing the episodes also takes a bit of time, hence the delay

Re:Publicity fumble: Why not do it live? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35201002)

Jeopardy is a syndicated TV show, not carried by any one network. As such, it is not broadcast at any specific time in all markets. Doing live TV with this setup is impossible. Also, as a syndicated show, it is not carried by a network in prime time. Also you have the time difference between east and west coast, which makes live TV challenging.

Re:Publicity fumble: Why not do it live? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35201246)

because the show is syndicated.... airs at different times on different local affiliates... the chances that Jeopardy! airs at the same time in every market is pretty slim.

Distributing the show to all these different stations in itself is a big task.

Victory Cry (1)

srobert (4099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200944)

Upon winning will Watson cry out, "OH, Yeah! Take that meatbags!"?

a practical use of supercomputing by (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 3 years ago | (#35200980)

any standard. Machines for the past decade have mostly been groomed to fight wars, as their human counterparts have so needlessly done. Now, for the first time, machines are being taught to humiliate living rooms and nursing homes full of doddering elderly tv viewers with decisive answers to some of americas most inane questions.

seriously though, the watson project is pretty freakin cool even if its just a PR stunt.

Chatting (2)

cf18 (943501) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201010)

I will watch it to see if Alex can chit-chat with it with regular questions, like "Where are you from?", "What's your job?", "Married? Any kids?", "Do you like... human?"

Re:Chatting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35201272)

At which point Watson dies in a spectacular shower of sparks while intoning "Does Not Compute", having only been programmed to question answers, not answer questions.

Very clever... (2)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201054)

Jeopardy! is the game where an answer is given and the contestant must supply a question...

Once their AI is sufficiently good at it, they're obviously planning to give it the answer 42.

Text to speech? (2)

MisterZimbu (302338) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201090)

I for one hope that Watson's text-to-speech engine fails miserably and he starts mispronouncing category names like "The Pen Is Mightier".

When does Watson Get the answer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35201156)

Nice to know that Watson will get the answers in text form...

I'm curious now.... exactly WHEN does this happen? As soon as the answer is revealed? In the middle of the verbal recite of the answer? At the end of the verbal recite of the answer? Doing so as soon as it is revealed, would seem to give Watson a head start on finding the answer, as no doubt it can process the text faster than any human could.

Doing so in the middle would seem more appropriate to me.

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13556_3-20031781-61.html#ixzz1DxSJtoon

Re:When does Watson Get the answer? (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201270)

I think it has to OCR it off of the blue screens, as humans do.
-d

Spoiler Alert (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201158)

Watson won...easily.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

bwintx (813768) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201364)

Watson won...easily.

Not a shock, really, but I'll still watch just to see how it went. Truly more interested in how the humans (including Trebek) deal with it than I am in Watson, which I expected to blow the doors off its competitors.

Unless (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201176)

Watson's voice is indentical to that of HAL 9000, I'm not interested. It would be hilarious if 2001 was a topic, though.

Spoilers (1)

RobotWisdom (25776) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201248)

My local station ran round one at 11am, and I've posted spoilers here: http://twitter.com/robotwisdom [twitter.com]

Songs, for $500 (1)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 3 years ago | (#35201252)

It is the first song played by a computer, in 1961.

Marketing and Money Failure! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35201346)

And here I sit, with this widely publicized event, completely out of my reach. They go to all these lengths to make sure people know about the 'man vs. machine' challenge of the year, and I still can't watch the live broadcast online! And yes! I've searched Google and the above linked article.

If you ever needed a quick glimpse we of what is wrong with the current state of media companies, broadcasters, advertisers and their failure to use this thing called the Internet to their advantage, this is it!

The one resource I would have used, technically an illegal rebroadcast online, now has a nice ICE domain seizure notice on it. Thanks a lot US.Gov!! If ever there was a reason to loathe the whole business of mainstream content creation and delivery, we have our yearly winner!

AI Magazine has a writeup about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35201376)

The information is technical, but at an abstract design level. There is some historical background and review of Watson's process and strategy. No programming or pseudo code and no big surprises, though.

http://www.aaai.org/ojs/index.php/aimagazine/article/viewArticle/2303 (paywall)

I was pretty frustrated trying to find technical info on this.

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