(Katie Durkin) IBM’s supercomputer aka Watson crushed its two-legged Jeopardy! opponents last night in the second part of a three-night series. Watson fell short of expectations the first night, tying Jeopardy! legend Brad Rutter. Watson shined on Day 2 though and finished with $35,734, while his contenders Rutter earned $10,400 and Ken Jennings earned only $4800.
Scientists at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Lab in New York spent over four years designing and preparing Watson for the Jeopardy! challenge. Watson’s overwhelming victory last night demonstrates the power and rapid advancement of artificial intelligence.
Not every one is as impressed by Watson as I am though. Wired reader Anthony Williams commented, “Duh, what a concept. A computer can locate and answer questions faster than a human big deal.” Others allude to an eventual machine takeover: “By 2030 we’ll make good pets if we’re lucky,” commented Wired reader ConvivalVisits.
However, the triumph of Watson is a truly feat in the name of innovation. IBM has designed a machine that can analyze and understand complicated human language and wordplay. The reach of IBM’s accomplishments could span from the military to health care to classrooms.
The important thing to remember is that whether it’s Watson, Rutter, or Jennings that wins the final game tonight, the power of the human brain will be behind the victory.