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IBM Software

IBM's Question-Answering System "Watson" Revisited 170

Posted by timothy
from the can-only-give-you-answers dept.
religious freak writes "IBM has created and made the question answering algorithm, Watson, available online. Watson has competed in and won a majority of (mock) matches against humans in Jeopardy. Watson does not connect to the Internet to answer his questions, but rather seeks answers using many different algorithms then employs a ranking algorithm to choose the best answer." We mentioned Watson last year as well.
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IBM's Question-Answering System "Watson" Revisited

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  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Friday June 18, 2010 @01:14AM (#32610028)

    Why can't I ask it my own questions?

    Because, like Deep Blue at its time, it requires much more computing power than today's typical web site or PC. Chess has finally been solved to the point that there's now unbeatable AIs available to the average user (assuming it gets to move first) but Jeopardy! hasn't, which is why this is novel. It'll take several more years of computing power increases before we'll be playing this AI on our home video game systems.

  • I'll be impressed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kitkoan (1719118) on Friday June 18, 2010 @01:19AM (#32610054)
    If it can properly rate if these people are hot or not [hotornot.com].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2010 @01:47AM (#32610170)

    Capital, not as in letter, of the state ending with Jersey which begins with New, is what?

  • by Raptoer (984438) on Friday June 18, 2010 @03:00AM (#32610394)

    To shorten your post: AIs will exist when a computer can write code for itself to run without interaction from a user. Given a problem, and having no prior knowledge of a solution, nor a way to arrive at the solution, an AI will be capable of creating a set of instructions to solve that problem.

  • by dlgeek (1065796) on Friday June 18, 2010 @04:09AM (#32610600)
    It's impossible to fully all possible games of chess. The game tree complexity is about 10^123, whereas the number of atoms in the universe is thought to be somewhere between 10^79 and 10^81. Thus, it's impossible to brute force the game since you can't store all the possible states.

    If, however, we ignore this, then the answer to your question would be "it depends on how fast it could calculate the results." Some hypothetical computer with sufficient memory and a sufficiently fast processor would be unbeatable using a brute force algorithm by the definition of brute forcing. However, as already explained the "sufficient memory" part is pretty much impossible
  • by maxwell demon (590494) on Friday June 18, 2010 @04:34AM (#32610704) Journal

    It's impossible to fully all possible games of chess. The game tree complexity is about 10^123, whereas the number of atoms in the universe is thought to be somewhere between 10^79 and 10^81. Thus, it's impossible to brute force the game since you can't store all the possible states.

    While you're right that it's impossible, the reason you give is wrong: You wouldn't have to store all the possible states at once. After you've determined that you cannot win with a certain move, you don't need to store all those states this move can lead to. And if you determined a winning move, you only have to store the sequence of winning moves. The real problem is time. Even if you could check one move per Planck time (the shortest possible time interval, ca. 5*10^-44s), you'd still need about 5*10^79 seconds, or about 1.5*10^72 years. For comparison, the universe is about 1.5*10^9 years old.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:14AM (#32610822)
    Ahem. I did that myself and I should clarify this. "Artificial" can mean "fake", but the original meaning was "workmanship" or "craft". Created by hand.
  • easteregg (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2010 @07:11AM (#32611248)

    use answer "iced!!!" or "pwned!!!" for a silly reply :P

  • by moeinvt (851793) on Friday June 18, 2010 @10:00AM (#32612444)

    Back to the drawing board my arse. You may have beaten the web page game easily, but consider the fact that you wouldn't get first shot at every single question in a real match. If you assume 50-50 on the ring-in time when both players think they have the right answer, I think Watson looks pretty good on this game (although they wouldn't have put an example of a particularly bad match on the web).

    It also has a probability threshold below which it won't attempt a response. The real machine must be set up so that if it's behind in the score late in the game, it would ring in with its highest probability "guess". That would make things more interesting. Think of "Final Jeopardy" too. If the machine can get >50% of the point leader's score, the match is totally up for grabs.

    People that go through the qualifying process to appear on the show are definitely on the upper end of the intellect/knowledge bell curves, so that would be a tough challenge. I totally believe that the machine would crush the "average" person.

  • by peter303 (12292) on Friday June 18, 2010 @11:00AM (#32613180)
    Both Watson and Google relied on statistically analyzed word occurrences with a veneer of procedural/rule intelligence. Waston seeks the correct answer, while Google the most popular document containing the answer. Neither incorporate "deep" understanding like CYC's rule ontology. But it may not be that necessary if the statistics are large enough.
  • by tlhIngan (30335) <<ten.frow> <ta> <todhsals>> on Friday June 18, 2010 @11:19AM (#32613390)

    and see students from the MIT Robotics Lab test their machine that they say can avoid the Bankrupts and find that Million Dollar wedge on the Wheel of Fortune

    With a little empirical testing, it should be possible. Bankrupts are at known positions on the wheel, and you know the starting location. If you can model the physics of the wheel well enough, you can easily avoid them. (Unless the wheel has external influences - e.g., a brake and a motor that randomly apply and remove energy from the wheel making it less predictable).

    Million dollar wedge is a bit more difficult, but given such wedges are covered up by something else, it may be possible to detect them looking at the high-def (and high-def 3D stream). Maybe during a few spins it may be possible to detect what's underneath it and detect the coloring.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Friday June 18, 2010 @02:03PM (#32615886) Journal

    Winning a huge monetary prize is usually quite destructive.

    There's a solution for that. Don't be a douchebag. I realize this is difficult for a large proportion of society.

  • by inio (26835) on Friday June 18, 2010 @02:31PM (#32616432) Homepage

    Don't the same forces at work in the Monty Hall Problem [wikipedia.org] make it not 50/50, or does the fact that the eliminated "losers" were randomly selected without foreknowledge that they're losers make it 50/50?

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