Posts Tagged ‘IBM’

Monday Medley

What we read while building our own Death Star in the private sector…

Monday Medley

What we read while everyone said “winning”…

  • The Obama Administration’s decision not to defend a federal law (the Defense of Marriage Act) is not unprecedented.

Monday Medley

What we read while dunking over a 1992 Buick LeSabre…

How Does Watson Know What Watson Knows?

Watson, the IBM supercomputer designed to play Jeopardy!, made his television debut yesterday, and while the game may not be over, it was a very auspicious start. Watson is currently tied with one of Jeopardy’s most successful champions, Brad Rutter, and is currently leading the most famous contestant ever, Ken Jennings.

This is pretty amazing on a lot of levels. Computers have been “smart” for a very long time (dating back to at least whenever we started teaching them chess), but Watson takes it to another level. For one, it’s worth pointing out that Watson is not connected to the Internet. In other words, Watson is storing all of the information it has for itself. More impressive, the computer can understand the intricacies of human language better than any other machine, since it has to not only generate information, but also generate the specific piece of information that the clue is looking for. Not to mention the fact that Jeopardy! clues are known for being full of wordplay and allusions that seem particularly troubling for a computer to digest.

While all this is impressive and important to the world of artificial intelligence, I’m more interested in another epistemological component of Watson’s thought process: How does Watson know what it knows? Continue reading

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