“Angry Nerds” Tie IBM’s Watson in Jeopardy Round 1!

Jeopardytfv-259x146 Come on Watson! We're rooting for you…The Watson IBM supercomputer finished the first round of the TV show “Jeopardy!” on Monday night tied with one of his human competitors and $3,000 ahead of the other. Did you all just see that? Watson, the IBM-developed artificial intelligence more than held his own against his soon-to-be-doomed human competition.


At the end of day one (it’s a three-day tournament), Watson, along with Brad Rutter, leads with $5,000. Poor, poor human Ken Jennings has only $2,000 to his name.

Double Jeopardy beings tomorrow. You can follow the hot action on Twitter.

Watson's big gaffe was its inability to recognize when an answer had already been given. One of two of the all-time Jeopardy! champions pitted against the super-machine, Ken Jennings, answered a question incorrectly with, "What is 1920s." Watson repeated the same answer.

Steve Camepa, IBM's general manager of global media and the entertainment industry told PC World that "Watson only takes his input from the question board so the fact that somebody else gave the same answer doesn't factor into what Watson says. He can't hear what the other players are saying, but maybe that's a feature we can add in the future."

Watson was briiliant at coming up with "cut and dried" answers: questions pertaining to song lyrics or historical facts, but seemed to stumble on "nuanced" questions, such as  "From the Latin for end, this is where trains can also originate." The correct answer, "terminus" was given by Jennings. Watson, gave the incorrect answer for the question, but technically got the part right about "From Latin for end" with its answer, "finis." It's these types of subtle queries that Watson was unable to understand.

As host Alex Trebek pointed out, Watson is not connected to the Internet. The questions that it did best at, rerports PC World,  are ones that if you entered into Google or Bing, you can get the same answers.

Watson, estimated to have cost $1-$2 billion, uses "DeepQA": a technology that enables computer systems to directly and precisely answer natural language questions over an open and broad range of knowledge.

Round One was an exciting display of Artificial Intelligence. The nub is: can the algorithms "evolve" to mimic human thought?

The Daily Galaxy via PCWorld

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