[Beowulf] IBM's Watson on Jeopardy tonight

Prentice Bisbal prentice at ias.edu
Wed Feb 16 08:36:19 PST 2011

Jonathan Aquilina wrote:
> http://edition.cnn.com/2011/TECH/innovation/02/14/jeopardy.ibm.watson/index.html
> this is quite an interesting read.
> question becomes are computers just as smart as we are?

Don't confuse knowledge for intelligence ("smarts") They are two
completely separate (but often related things). Knowledge is the
collection of facts, but intelligence is the ability to reason or
"figure things out"

Note this is just my description, and not anything super-scientific, so
please don't split hairs over my description.


> I'm quite surprised that the computer doesn't have a massive lead
> On 2/15/11 10:55 PM, David Mathog wrote:
>> Jim Lux pointed out in an earlier post the reaction time element on
>> buzzing in from the (invisible to the audience) "go" light.  I only
>> watched about 10 minutes of this, but my impression was that the machine
>> did have a reaction time advantage.  Alex T. was a little vague on how
>> the machine was fed the question and if he explained what its equivalent
>> of the "go" light is I missed it.  It could be decisive - sending the
>> entire question to the machine at the instant it became visible to the
>> humans would give the machine an advantage, since it could digest the
>> message before the contestants eyes could even track across the first
>> line of text, let alone until they heard the entire question. In any
>> case, for the part I watched the machine was beating the humans to the
>> buzzer pretty consistently.  It was cute, but a little silly, that the
>> machine had to push the button with a mechanical plunger.  Unless they
>> built a typical human reaction delay into that mechanism one would
>> expect the plunger to be much faster than a thumb.
>> In terms of score/watt the humans had the machine beat by a mile :-).
>> David Mathog
>> mathog at caltech.edu
>> Manager, Sequence Analysis Facility, Biology Division, Caltech


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