Comments about ‘What's next for 'Jeopardy!' computer?’

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Published: Wednesday, Feb. 16 2011 11:51 p.m. MST

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Pete1215
Lafayette, IN

Watson 1.0 is not a threat to top-tier human intellects. But what about the other 90% of We The People?

BlameItOnTheOfficials
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Maybe the University of Utah can hire Watson as their next Basketball coach.. the team has a lot of questions that need to be answered.

Third try screen name
Mapleton, UT

I thought the show was an infomercial for IBM. Sad really.
You can't call it a fair fight.
First of all, let's limit Watson to 200 pounds of gear.
Then, make it get input from the stage cues, just like the others.
1) Recognize that it is question time.
2) LOOK at the question.
3) Listen to the question.
4) THEN search for an answer.
It was spoon-fed the questions and had a quick response time. Nothing new was displayed after the first round.

Eileen
Edmonton, Alberta

Humans can love, show compassion, and repent. I think we still have the most important bases covered. I'm glad my car can get down the road faster than I can on foot. Let the machines do some things faster.

ute alumni
Tengoku, UT

boring. not fun to watch.....a real dud

GuitarGuy
Layton, UT

I thought it was really fascinating how Watson was able to answer some of the wordplay questions as well as the purely fact-based ones. That, for me, was the real accomplishment.

It was not terribly impressive that Watson was able to buzz in faster than its human counterparts. It's no secret that machines have faster reflexes than people do. It wasn't "smarter" than Ken or Brad, either, just faster. It would have been mind-blowingly amazing if Watson had been able to respond to the verbal cues, rather than receiving the questions in text format.

And, like someone said before, it was CLEARLY a three-day infomercial for IBM. Especially when they kept flashing the camera on the smug executives applauding in the audience. They knew dang well that Watson would win this tournament convincingly, otherwise they never would have agreed to it. They made sure the deck was stacked in their favor so they wouldn't lose any face on national television.

Still, it was fun to see Ken behind the podium again. He manages to be incredibly smart and funny without being a complete ODDBALL like Brad Rutter.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

My problem with the show was that it was setup for the machine to win.

It emphasized the area that machines excelled at... and humans are notoriously not so good at (speed of data retrieval).

The game also penalizes for being wrong... and for the machine everything is binary right-or-wrong... so it would not buzz in when it had a HUNCH that it knew the answer... thus avoiding the tendency to get points/money taken away (which is what dooms most Jeopardy contestants when the competition is tough).

Getting the edge in this game sometimes requires going with your hunches... but computers don't have hunches. They wither know the answer or they don't. When the competition gets hot and forces you to go with more hunches... the humans have a distinct disadvantage because they will have a tendency to guess (the computer never guesses, and never feels the heat of the competition... so it won't tend loose points on guesses like a human).

It was interesting entertainment, but in the end irrelevant to real_life.

Ask_HAL_how_he_feels_about_puppies... or to identify the smell of spring flowers or the sound of rustling leaves.... not his advantage.

Moracle
Blackshear, GA

The way I see it, Watson had the advantage in response time. If it had been programmed to allow a delay of the time it takes a human to press the button, after recognition of the answer, the contest would have been more fair.

The humans probably knew most of the answers, but couldn't presss the button faster than electricity could trigger a response.

I think it was really a contest between the speed of electricity in computer circuits and the speed of human neuological and physical response and reaction to input -- not a contest of knowledge.

There's no way the humans could have beat the speed of electricity, even if the computer recognized the answer nanoseconds after the humans did.

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