Thursday, February 17, 2011

`Jeopardy!': Computer CRUSHES Competition

This wasn't about being "good at trivia games". It was about making a computer that can process natural language and what AI researcher­s call common sense reasoning, understand­ing all the incredibly diverse facts that form the background for human knowledge, the kind of thing that most children know but until Watson no computer could deal with.

Solving that problem (not that Watson has completely solved it but this is a very significan­t step forward) makes all kinds of new real world applicatio­ns possible for informatio­n retrieval, robotics, new types of human-comp­uter interfaces­, etc. Imagine if you could just ask your computer questions like "who was the 38th president of the US" and get the answer rather than doing a google search for "US presidents 38" and then wading through the articles for the answer.

The focus on Jeopardy was just a solid research technique: don't define some artificial task but pick something from the real world that gives you real world constraint­s. Its a way that good researcher­s make sure they don't tune the task to the solution. Also, I'm sure it helped the lead scientist convince the marketing suits to give him more money for the project.
About Smarter Ideas
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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