Thursday, February 17, 2011

Watson Day 3: The Conclusion....

Good day everyone! What an a amazing thing we watched happen last night, am I right?! Watson was victorious over the humans for both games of Jeopardy! This surprised some, and didn't surprise others. I, for one, was quite impressed that the computer was able to "understand" the question and respond faster (on most questions) than Ken and Brad. Just to put things into perspective, last night we were told that when the Watson project was just being put together, it would take the early Watson 2 hours to answer a single question, the product you saw last night was capable of answering a question within three seconds.

It's pretty amazing all of the work that went into the project. I'm just going to briefly touch on some of the questions asked last night.

Why did Watson answer "Toronto" in Final Jeopardy! on day 2, when the category was "U.S. Cities", and the question was "This city's largest airport is named for a famous World War II hero, its second largest for a famous World War II battle."?

This question was a challenge for Watson because during the rest of the game play Watson was "told" the category so he was more able to have an idea of what it was he was looking for before answering. However, when it came to Final Jeopardy! Watson was not given the category clue (U.S. cities). It was a multi-faceted question, which made it hard for Watson to understand. I was actually very impressed when Watson was able to come up with the correct answer to last nights Final Jeopardy! question as well. It seemed like the questions were purposely written in a way that would trip up a computer.

When Watson wagered, why were his wagers such a weird number?

This one was simple to answer. To the computer, a number is a number. The computer doesn't see any benefit to betting a round number like a person would, so generally Watson would just bet a number that would ensure that he stayed ahead of the other contestants without falling behind. There was no "strategy" about it. It was simply doing what it needed to to stay ahead.

This technology is going to do absolutely amazing things in the future. the applications in the medical field alone will help diagnose problems and save lives. IBM assured us that the computers would not be taking over the world, but rather helping make our world a better place.

In closing, I would like to share with you my favorite moment in Jeopardy! history. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Ken Jennings final answer.

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