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Computer ties human as they square off on 'Jeopardy!'
CNN Tech ^ | February 15, 2011 | John D. Sutter

Posted on 02/15/2011 7:52:19 PM PST by Kaslin

(CNN) -- The computers haven't proven to be our trivia overlords just yet.

Give them at least until Wednesday.

An IBM supercomputer named Watson finished one round of the TV show "Jeopardy!" on Monday night tied with one of his human competitors and $3,000 ahead of the other.

The man vs. computer face-off won't be complete, however, until the final rounds of the extended trivia game show are aired on Tuesday and Wednesday.

IBM trumpets Watson, which has been in development for years and has the processing power of 2,800 "powerful computers," as a major advancement in machines' efforts to understand human language. The computer receives clues through digital texts and then buzzes in against the two other "Jeopardy!" contestants like any other player would. It juggles dozens of lines of reasoning at once and tries to arrive at a smart answer

(Excerpt) Read more at cnn.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
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1 posted on 02/15/2011 7:52:21 PM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Let’s hit the streets to put Watson in the White House


2 posted on 02/15/2011 7:57:43 PM PST by A_Former_Democrat (The Rodney King Riots: Courtesy of ABC, CBS, NBC & CNN)
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To: Kaslin
42
3 posted on 02/15/2011 7:57:43 PM PST by MarineBrat (Better dead than red!)
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To: Kaslin

I’m not impressed! It takes a room full of supercooled supercomputers to do the same as one person. Not very cost effective if you ask me.


4 posted on 02/15/2011 7:59:52 PM PST by RetiredTexasVet (There's a pill for just about everything ... except stupid!)
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To: RetiredTexasVet

I wasn’t impressed at all when in Final Jeopardy the category was “US Cities” and Watson’s answer was “Toronto.”


5 posted on 02/15/2011 8:02:11 PM PST by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: Kaslin
Computer ties human as they square off on 'Jeopardy!'

How well would Watson do in Peking? He'd have an army of his Levono children out there working on his behalf. True social networking.

6 posted on 02/15/2011 8:02:52 PM PST by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: Kaslin

Someone should ask Watson who the hell Obama really is.


7 posted on 02/15/2011 8:04:13 PM PST by exit82 (Democrats are the enemy of freedom. Sarah Palin is our Esther.)
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To: Kaslin

there were several easy questions that the humans knew and I could see them trying to push the button but Watson answered first. I suppose watson answers at the speed of light while humans have to push a button that is far slower and puts them at a disadvantage.


8 posted on 02/15/2011 8:06:18 PM PST by hecht (TAKE BACK OUR NATION AND OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM)
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To: Kaslin

Wait till the categorey is “Women” and the clue is something like “number of ways a guy can screw up”. That’s one of those divide by zero thingies that always blow computers to smithereens.


9 posted on 02/15/2011 8:06:31 PM PST by DaxtonBrown (HARRY: Money Mob & Influence (See my Expose on Reid on amazon.com written by me!))
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To: Kaslin
It's all fun and games until it takes over all the other systems, becomes self-aware, and launches our nukes...

Yes, the obligatory Skynet reference...

10 posted on 02/15/2011 8:06:41 PM PST by ThunderSleeps (Stop obama now! Stop the hussein - insane agenda!)
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To: buccaneer81

Yes, it missed that question, but it won by more than $25,000 over each of its opponents. Watson is absolutely crushing the two best players ever. It is no contest so far.


11 posted on 02/15/2011 8:07:39 PM PST by Buckhead
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To: Kaslin

Watson kicked the humans’ butts today.

It even got in some mild humor.

I am thinking SkyNet...


12 posted on 02/15/2011 8:12:43 PM PST by freedumb2003 (The TOTUS-reader is a Judas Goat, leading the American sheeple to the slaugherhouse /Parmy)
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To: Kaslin

Knowing the answers to the questions is only half the battle. What is really important is pushing the button at the right time, which brings me to my question. Does Watson activate the button mechanically, like his human counterparts?


13 posted on 02/15/2011 8:13:06 PM PST by csense
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To: MarineBrat

What is 6 times 9?


14 posted on 02/15/2011 8:13:46 PM PST by stump56 (Freedom isn't free.)
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To: Kaslin
Does it have the rudimentary capability of understanding the spoken question or is the question inputted separately?
15 posted on 02/15/2011 8:13:59 PM PST by Prokopton
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To: Prokopton

>>Does it have the rudimentary capability of understanding the spoken question or is the question inputted separately?<<

From what I understand, it understands the category as well as the question.

It is a quibble whether it reads the question or hears it from Trebek.


16 posted on 02/15/2011 8:19:15 PM PST by freedumb2003 (The TOTUS-reader is a Judas Goat, leading the American sheeple to the slaugherhouse /Parmy)
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To: hecht
there were several easy questions that the humans knew and I could see them trying to push the button but Watson answered first. I suppose watson answers at the speed of light while humans have to push a button that is far slower and puts them at a disadvantage.

Actually, they showed that Watson still has to press the same button that the others do, mechanically. They've got a little rig set up for him. However, the impulse to press it certainly travels faster than in the humans.
17 posted on 02/15/2011 8:27:41 PM PST by fr_freak
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To: hecht

‘’there were several easy questions that the humans knew and I could see them trying to push the button but Watson answered first. I suppose watson answers at the speed of light while humans have to push a button that is far slower and puts them at a disadvantage.”

If you watched some of the background presentation on how Watson was prepared, it showed that the computer had been rigged with an electro-mechanical “plunger” that Watson had to push to “ring in”, just as his human competitors had to do.

The whole demonstration was very impressive.

One can only imagine the befuddlement of both competitors.

This is “John Henry” all over again — only this time, the steam drill is winnin’!


18 posted on 02/15/2011 8:28:22 PM PST by Grumplestiltskin (I may look new, but it's only deja vu!)
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To: csense

Yes. As they explained it last night... Watson pursues multiple lines of “reasoning” when working on a question. This generates multiple possibly answers that get refined and possibly re-enforced by further analysis. When Watson’s confidence in a particular answer exceeds a threshold value, it buzzes in. It uses a solenoid to activate a pushbutton switch tied to the regular Jeopardy gear.


19 posted on 02/15/2011 8:38:04 PM PST by ThunderSleeps (Stop obama now! Stop the hussein - insane agenda!)
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To: exit82

Someone should ask Watson who the hell Obama really is.


Watson: “EVIL, EVIL, EVIL,........”.


20 posted on 02/15/2011 8:40:40 PM PST by unkus
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To: Prokopton
Does it have the rudimentary capability of understanding the spoken question or is the question inputted separately?

They said the question gets sent to Watson as a text file at the same time it is revealed to the human players and read.

Watson does not hear nor parse the question - nor the answers of the other players. That happened last night. Watson buzzed in second. The human player gave the wrong answer. That answer was also Watson's, and it merely repeated the same wrong answer not having any way of getting the information that xyz was wrong. A human would've thought "Hmm, better go with my second guess..."

21 posted on 02/15/2011 8:41:49 PM PST by ThunderSleeps (Stop obama now! Stop the hussein - insane agenda!)
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To: Kaslin

Ask Watson if Islam is a religion of peace.

That will fry his circuit board.


22 posted on 02/15/2011 8:43:23 PM PST by Salvavida (The restoration of the U.S.A. starts with filling the pews at every Bible-believing church.)
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To: csense
Does Watson activate the button mechanically, like his human counterparts?

My understanding is that Watson mechanically operates a plunger-type of control, just like a human. The difference is that Watson receives a text file at the instant that the other contestants start to hear the question. Watson's comprehension of the question is undoubtedly much faster, so Watson is apt to "buzz in" first.

I knew the answer to all but three of the questions tonight. I suspect that Ken Jennings and the other fellow knew just about every question too. But Watson reacts faster than they can, so Watson controls the board.

23 posted on 02/15/2011 8:46:55 PM PST by ClearCase_guy (BO + MB = BOMB -- The One will make sure they get one.)
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To: Kaslin

"Hey Watson, your mother's a whore."

24 posted on 02/15/2011 8:49:57 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: Salvavida
Ask Watson if Islam is a religion of peace.

Answer: Yes. Oh, and by the way "peace" means, in this context, that the last infidel has been killed or converted. They simply seek peace. That isn't too much to ask, is it?

25 posted on 02/15/2011 8:50:47 PM PST by coloradan (The US has become a banana republic, except without the bananas - or the republic.)
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To: Grumplestiltskin
My wife and son were saying how “unfair” it was. Perhaps. But the background information, and the earlier trials from a few years ago shows just how difficult a feat the computer is performing. Pretty amazing.

I was surprised at how uneven it was. It was not very “entertaining”. One would think they would have tried it a few times and seen how uneven it was. And then perhaps add in a delay to the computer of a tenth of a second or whatever to make it comparable to a human’s response of thought and then action to push the button.

Of course then you wouldn't be showing the full capability of the machine.

26 posted on 02/15/2011 8:57:35 PM PST by 21twelve ( You can go from boom to bust, from dreams to a bowl of dust ... another lost generation.)
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To: Buckhead
I want to know if Watson has an advantage "ringing in." I work with a guy who was on Jeopardy, who finished second, and said that hitting the button was 50% of the game.

Off topic, thanks for your service to our republic in 2004. My son has learned from you. God bless you.

27 posted on 02/15/2011 9:18:49 PM PST by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: freedumb2003
It is a quibble whether it reads the question or hears it from Trebek.

Not a quibble at all. Even a small child could easily understand the spoken question. If the computer cannot, it is obviously limited in its abilities even when compared to a child.

28 posted on 02/15/2011 9:21:00 PM PST by Prokopton
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To: ThunderSleeps

the humans have to wait until the exact moment when trebek finishes, and the computer can buzz in early?


29 posted on 02/15/2011 9:29:04 PM PST by truthfreedom
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To: hecht

It is who is first on the button. I knew most of the answers so you know the guys did - Watson just rang in faster. Needs to be some kind of built in delay on Watson’s ringing in ability.

Also, the final question category was “U.S Cities” and Watson’s answer was Toronto with several question marks after it - what’s with that? I would think Toronto should have been eliminated from Watson’s possibilities by virtue of the category alone.


30 posted on 02/15/2011 9:29:29 PM PST by Let's Roll (Save the world's best healthcare - REPEAL, DEFUND Obamacare!)
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To: Prokopton

on jeopardy, can the contestants read the question like we can at home, or do they have to listen to trebek?

Listening is different than reading and might activate different parts of the human brain?

If the humans have to listen to Trebek, so should the computer. there are speak to text programs.


31 posted on 02/15/2011 9:33:58 PM PST by truthfreedom
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To: Prokopton

>>Not a quibble at all. Even a small child could easily understand the spoken question. If the computer cannot, it is obviously limited in its abilities even when compared to a child.<<

You are conflating the ability to “hear” versus the ability to “read.”

All Jeopardy contestants get to read (via sight) the answers before they ring in. It is thus a quibble whether Watson reads the clue by text input as opposed to hearing Trebek speak it — Watson is on an even footing with the human contestants.


32 posted on 02/15/2011 9:37:19 PM PST by freedumb2003 (The TOTUS-reader is a Judas Goat, leading the American sheeple to the slaugherhouse /Parmy)
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To: hecht

“there were several easy questions that the humans knew and I could see them trying to push the button but Watson answered first. I suppose watson answers at the speed of light while humans have to push a button that is far slower and puts them at a disadvantage.”

If they explained how that works, I missed it. Maybe it was rigged so that once the computer reaches its threshold for answering (50% certainty, whatever that means), it has to wait the average time it takes a human brain to order its thumb to click in.


33 posted on 02/15/2011 9:38:45 PM PST by Tublecane
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To: Kaslin

How does a computer decide how much to wager in final jeopardy? I suppose it doesn’t matter if it has doubled the other players’ scores. But what if it wasn’t? How would a computer judge its knowledge of “U.S. Cities” if, presumably, if it knows everything it knows with equanimity? I mean, it can’t say to itself, “Well, I took that calculus course sophomore year, but I didn’t study very hard, so I better not swing for the fences.”


34 posted on 02/15/2011 9:44:33 PM PST by Tublecane
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To: Tublecane
“there were several easy questions that the humans knew and I could see them trying to push the button but Watson answered first. I suppose watson answers at the speed of light while humans have to push a button that is far slower and puts them at a disadvantage.”

I watched it and I agree. Watson was faster on the button. But so was Ken Jennings when he had his big run too against other people.

But I was very impressed with the programming of that machine. It could make complex associations and do it very well.

What amazed me was how Watson was so totally wrong of the Final question. I would have thought that would have been an easy one, but then again, Watson never had the 'pleasure' of flying through Chicago. He only travels via cyber space. ;~))

35 posted on 02/15/2011 9:49:11 PM PST by Ditto (Nov 2, 2010 -- Partial cleaning accomplished. More trash to remove in 2012)
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To: Kaslin

Time to crank up, “I Lost On Jeopardy” by Weird Al! :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvUZijEuNDQ


36 posted on 02/15/2011 9:49:50 PM PST by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: Grumplestiltskin

“This is ‘John Henry’ all over again — only this time, the steam drill is winnin’!”

I suppose John Henry technically won, but at the end he was dead. The machine didn’t die, did it?


37 posted on 02/15/2011 9:49:57 PM PST by Tublecane
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To: Ditto

“But so was Ken Jennings when he had his big run too against other people”

I always figured Jennings’ secret was that he clicked in before he knew the answer. But that was his risk, and anyone could have taken it.


38 posted on 02/15/2011 9:53:08 PM PST by Tublecane
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To: freedumb2003

“It is a quibble whether it reads the question or hears it from Trebek.”

Understanding spoken speech requires far more processing. There can be difficulties in a machine understanding regional dialects, slang, and subtle differences in similar sounding words. For example, disambiguating heir, air, and err requires additional processing to determine which word best fits the context of the sentence.


39 posted on 02/15/2011 9:58:51 PM PST by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
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To: Kaslin

So what’s the deal - does Watson have an internet connection and basically googles the answer in an intelligent way or does he have these facts programmed into him somehow? If it’s all internal, then that’s pretty impressive, because he would have to have an incredibly broad database of raw factual info do draw on.


40 posted on 02/15/2011 9:58:55 PM PST by Yardstick
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To: freedumb2003
Watson is on an even footing with the human contestants.

The human contestants, while demonstrating certain memory functions, are also demonstrating higher levels of brain function including seeing and hearing. Watson is deaf and blind and is basically demonstrating data base search algorithms. Interesting, but primitive when it comes to brain function.

41 posted on 02/15/2011 9:59:47 PM PST by Prokopton
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To: Tublecane
I always figured Jennings’ secret was that he clicked in before he knew the answer. But that was his risk, and anyone could have taken it.

I'd agree, but as I recall, he didn't do it unless he thought he could retrieve that answer in time. I didn't see him miss too many. (The guy is really good)

As I get older and watch that show, it's 'I know I know" but the answer does not pop to my lips as quickly as it once did. Years ago, "I could have been a contender", but now, I know I know it, but I simply can't get the answer out as fast. Just like baseball... my reaction time is way down.

Blame it on the Budwiser. ;~))

42 posted on 02/15/2011 10:10:09 PM PST by Ditto (Nov 2, 2010 -- Partial cleaning accomplished. More trash to remove in 2012)
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To: Yardstick
If it’s all internal, then that’s pretty impressive, because he would have to have an incredibly broad database of raw factual info do draw on.

It was all internal. Actually, the internet would have been far too slow for that contest.

43 posted on 02/15/2011 10:14:38 PM PST by Ditto (Nov 2, 2010 -- Partial cleaning accomplished. More trash to remove in 2012)
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To: Kirkwood

“Understanding spoken speech requires far more processing...”

Be that as it may, I believe you’ll notice the human contestants also read the clues. In fact, while playing along at home I like to tune Alex out, for the sake of avoiding his pompous pronunciations, bad impressions and accents, and stupid jokes.


44 posted on 02/15/2011 10:29:55 PM PST by Tublecane
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To: MarineBrat

Airplanes


45 posted on 02/15/2011 10:44:07 PM PST by CougarGA7
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To: Tublecane

You’re not getting it.


46 posted on 02/15/2011 11:00:37 PM PST by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
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To: Kaslin

He may be smart but he will never get a date . . . when they can fit watson into a container he size of a coconut, I’ll be impressed


47 posted on 02/15/2011 11:15:13 PM PST by Juan Medén
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To: Kaslin

In actuality the human contestants are squaring off against the team of coders who wrote the software. They are in no way competing against an intelligent machine of any sort.

A bright 12 year old could program the same powerful computer to play a mediocre game of checkers or a group of high-end coders can program it to play Jeopardy but the machine stays the same, it is the brilliance of the programmers that is on display.

Computers are tools, they are amplifiers that automate intelligence. They are the most important tools ever created by man.


48 posted on 02/15/2011 11:20:35 PM PST by Bobalu ( "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother." ..Moshe Dayan:)
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To: Tublecane

“I always figured Jennings’ secret was that he clicked in before he knew the answer. But that was his risk, and anyone could have taken it.”

I wondered out loud if they can press the button before the entire answer is read. My son said no, not sure if he is correct or not. (Probably is!)


49 posted on 02/15/2011 11:36:05 PM PST by 21twelve ( You can go from boom to bust, from dreams to a bowl of dust ... another lost generation.)
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To: 21twelve

Just searched it on the net. My son was right - you are “locked out” on the buzzer until the entire question is asked.


50 posted on 02/15/2011 11:40:34 PM PST by 21twelve ( You can go from boom to bust, from dreams to a bowl of dust ... another lost generation.)
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