IBM supercomputer destroys human contestants on Jeopardy

Video here. Amazing.

Naturally, philosophers no longer consider “playing Jeopardy” as a marker of intelligence :stuck_out_tongue:

Not quite what I was imagining, when I saw “IBM supercomputer destroys…” on the main page.

I’m assuming the contestants on Jeopardy can’t see the screen with the answers written out? If so, this is really impressive. It would be hilarious to see a couple of different companies competing against one another.

Some of the options Watson comes up with 2nd and 3rd are pretty weird. Did Watson have the text for the questions provided for him or did he use voice recognition? If he had the question provided in text form then I wonder when the question was provided, as soon as it appeared or once the host finished reading.

Boy, that was disappointing. I expected more out of “destroys” than “was $1000 ahead of Ken Jennings at the end of the Jeopardy round.”

OTOH, considering it IS Ken Jennings, maybe it IS all that…

$1000 ahead?

A man ain’t nothing but a man.

It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. It always phrases its responses in the form of a question. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.

I’m not sure I’m all that impressed with a program that basically does a fact query and simple semantic processing.

What am I missing?

Jeopardy! is not about intelligence – it’s about memory, and FAST memory. Computers rock at accessing memory fast.

*When Ken Jennings was a little bitty baby

Sitting on his daddy’s knee

Well, he picked up a buzzer and a little piece of steel

He said This buzzer’s going to be the death of me

Lawd, Lawdy

This buzzer’s going to be the death of me!

Mr. Trebeck bought a computer.

He brought it to the end of the track.

Then he said bring out your best

We’re gonna’ have us a test

And if my computer wins the rest of you can pack

Lawd Lawdy

If my computer wins, the rest of you can pack.

Ken Jennings went onto the panel to strive

His buzzer by his side

He said Before I would let that computer get me down

You know I’d lay down this buzzer and I’d die

Lawd Lawdy

I’d lay down this buzzer and I’d die*

It’s completely self-contained and doesn’t require to be hooked up to the Internet?

“Simple semantic processing” is not adequate for properly decoding the tangential clues, wordplay and puns involved in Jeopardy questions.

Consider the difference between a question like, “Who was the 16th President of the United States?” And a clue like “this bearded head-of-state was rumored to be homosexual in a controversial biography by C.A. Tripp.”

The former question is easily answered by the most basic fact engine; the latter requires a great deal more work to arrive at the correct answer. There’s all sorts of potential traps (C.A. Tripp, beards, homosexuals, heads-of-state, controversy) that have to be avoided in order to make the connection between the Tripp book and Lincoln.

They put a hell of a lot of research and money into making that thing do what it does.

Yeah, I was kinda expecting lasers.

What about the buzzer response? Is there a built-in random delay for the computer to buzz in that would be comparable to a human’s reaction speed? That seems like the most unfair thing about it, since it could beat the humans to the buzzer every time if it wanted.

“Destroys” maybe conjures a certain imagery that isn’t entirely accurate, but I was still impressed. As friedo pointed out, this isn’t a simple search-bot. It gets the questions. Also, screw Ken Jennings. While his streak was impressive, Brad Rutter’s was likely cut short by the then five day cap. Remember, Brad beat Ken in the tournament. Go Brad!

I doubt it, and it would completely ruin the appeal of the concept if they did. They should be competing with the computer, not against the Handicapper General.

But it’s not going to, because it doesn’t hit the buzzer unless it knows the answer.

I didn’t watch the whole video, but I got the distinct impression that when the questions were short, humans won, and when the questions were long (i.e. longer sentences to phrase the question), then Watson had the advantage. Also, I’d be curious to know the answer to mittu’s questions, is Watson using voice recognition or is someone typing in the questions?

Watson takes about three seconds to make a decision.

Very impressive stuff. Not the just the answers but also the quality of the voice which is the best I have heard generated by a computer. I bet this technology will play a big role in our lives 5-10 years from now.

It would seem to me that if the computer can input the “answer” fast enough could just Google the question faster than any human could recognize that the “question” he/she came up with was correct. I was unsurprised that Kasparov was eventually beaten by a computer and I’m a bit surprised that the computer does not simply wipe the floor with the humans.

Watson gets the questions as entered text, so it doesn’t have to do voice recognition or OCR to get the question. It’s not allowed to press the buzzer until the question is done being read aloud, same as the human contestants.

It makes perfect sense that the longer the question is, the more of an advantage the computer has. It can start processing the question the moment the reading starts, and nobody can press the buzzer until the question is done being read, so the longer the question, the more time Watson has to come up with the answer.