Monday, February 21, 2011

Watson the Computer vs. Jeopardy

Question: In the wake of Watson’s computerized victory over Jennings and Rutter on Jeopardy, do we now have evidence that humans are not as smart as computers?

Answer: Stephen Baker, author of a forthcoming book entitled, Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything, provides this insight into the issue of machine vs. human intelligence:

“Watson is incapable of coming up with fresh ideas, much less creating theories, cracking jokes, telling stories, or carrying on conversations. Its ability is simply to make sense of questions and scour a trove of data for the most likely answers.”

Comment: In other words, Watson, the machine, however skillful at searching data instantly, cannot think or create. This fact says something about the nature of the game of Jeopardy with its human machines. RayS.

“Watson and Its Limitations.” Stephen Baker. The Philadelphia Inquirer (February 18, 2011), Section B, p. A19.

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