It looks like mankind is one step nearer to the dream of creating an intelligent machine. At least that seems to be the goal of IBM when they created Watson, a supercomputer that is capable of thinking – to a certain degree. His creators call him a “question answering system,” which is not quite apt for a self-thinking robot.
That’s because Watson isn’t quite there yet. What makes you shake your head in awe about Watson, however, is the fact that he is the first ever machine that can interact meaningfully with humans (that’s us!) through speech. When I first read about Watson, I couldn’t help but think about that robot in Tony Stark’s workshop (does it have a name?).
While Watson is not that smart (yet), his success rate at correctly answering questions asked by humans is impressive. And how does he do this?
Thanks to a hundred algorithms, Watson is able to analyze complex human speech. The words, the inflections, and the nuances – they are all taken into consideration! He then cross references the question with millions and millions of documents to come up with a list of probably answers.
Yup, that is quite a letdown, as he does not give one specific answer. Instead, he presents possibilities and ranks them. Still, that is quite a feat, isn’t it?
In fact, IBM tested the waters by putting Watson up against Jeopardy contestants. Guess what? The machine bested the humans most of the time.
Are we one day going to be ruled by descendants of Watson the Jeopardy expert? Check out this video and judge for yourself.