Blogs My Two Cents

Watson bests humans, one step closer to machines that can think

By Chris Baca ’11
THE ROUNDUP

Recently the IBM made supercomputer “Watson” defeated multiple human opponents on the game show “Jeopardy.”

Watson is a supercomputer that was made in the hopes of advancing software used for searching information more efficiently.

In a way this can be seen as a much more advanced version of google.

The score was not by any means close, with the supercomputer at $77,147 for the two days combined and was able to beat the human champions of the show.

When compared to the scores of the human competition, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, who both had $24,000 and $21,600 respectively, it is clear that computers can give humans some stiff competition.

Some regard this as a trivial feat, of course a computer was able to best the human mind in recalling information

But it is truly not a simple accomplishment.

While it is true that computers are able to store and recall information more efficiently than the human brain, this is not the reason why this is such a large breakthrough in computer science.

Watson is huge because it signifies the leap that takes a computer and user from some sort of interface to the computer understanding a human’s natural language, something a human can read or write.

Traditionally this has been done either by using some sort of interface, where a set action symbolizes some line of code.

Now, however, a computer such as Watson can take a question posed to it in a natural language, convert it to a computer language and then back to a natural language.

Using this new type of question and answer technology people will have access to information faster and more efficiently than our current methods.

This technology will eventually affect anyone that uses a search engine or an information-heavy job such as those in the medical field.

But looking at a larger picture, Watson is one step closer to a full AI computer as understanding human language is very important.

Only time will tell if anything of note is able to be spawned off of this innovative new technology.