Still More on Watson

January 17, 2011

The upcoming match on Jeopardy!, the popular TV game show, between IBM’s Watson computer system and past (human) champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, scheduled to air February 14-16,  is continuing to attract a good deal of attention, especially since the trial match that took place last week.   The PBS science program, Nova, will air a special program about Watson, “Smartest Machine on Earth”, at 10 PM on February 9.

It remains to be seen if this amalgam of circuits and silicon can really take us closer to the dream of a fully developed artificial intelligence, a truly “conscious” machine. Win or lose, the difficulty of mimicking the human thought process with software is showing artificial-intelligence researchers that there’s more than one way to be “intelligent.”

Nova generally does a pretty good job of explaining scientific concepts in ordinary language, so I’m looking forward to watching this.

I have also recently come across Stephen Baker’s blog, Final Jeopardy, billed as “Stephen Baker’s Take on Technology & Life”.  Mr. Baker is a journalist, who formerly covered technology for Business Week.   He has recently completed a book about IBM’s Watson project, also called Final Jeopardy.  I can’t comment on the book, which I have not read, but he has a number of recent posts on aspects of the upcoming Jeopardy! match that are interesting reading.

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