LOS ANGELES, CA – IBM supercomputer, Watson, competes on Jeopardy and wins.
IBM’s newest supercomputer, Watson, competed on Jeopardy and had a triumphant victory.
Watson, who is named after its creator, Thomas J. Watson, was developed by IBM not solely to compete on one of America’s long running game shows but also to be able to tackle real world situations like diagnosing patient symptoms or analyzing old legal cases to help high courts resolve complex legal and social issues.
Programmers at IBM developed a unique quantum-relational database infrastructure that allows for more complex and potentially open-ended queries. Watson is still rooted in a basic binary system of 1s and 0s but has the ability to decipher more complex ideas and questions that are not always black and white. Jeopardy’s quirky and often pun driven questions, or rather answers, make for an ideal arena to test Watson’s skills.
In addition to the abstract problem solving abilities that Watson possesses, programmers also developed a jovial side to the supercomputer hoping to better integrate the machine into the professional world. Programmers hope that this humanoid programming will give Watson a more personable quality.
“We were concerned that having a computer that was always right would begin to infuriate professionals. To help prevent infighting between humans and computers, we developed a ‘sense of humor’ program, allowing Watson to make little jokes when working with humans to help lighten the mood,” explained David Ferrucci, the scientist leading the IBM research team that created Watson, “We especially thought that this would be helpful in the legal profession where difference of opinion between lawyers and computers will surely occur.”
This joking side of the program did not surface during the filming of last night’s show but producers informed WWN that Watson did pull a fast one during a commercial break. Evidently, Watson tapped into the studio’s mainframe delivering a small electric shock to Alex Trebek at his podium.
Immediately after the jolt of juice, Watson quickly penned the message “JK Trebek, ZING!! : )” on the screen located in front of Watson’s player’s podium.
The supercomputer did not freeze up, crash and burn. But Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter may both have a meltdown!