Read: I’m Scared of Watson

Thursday Trivia will not be seen today; we’ll be back next week. (By the way, a shameless plug, you can find trivia, events, news, and other bits of all things cool in 140 characters or less on our Twitter page, Random Musings Awesome Mornings.)

Instead, I’ll be talking about IBM’s supercomputer, Watson. It’s a Deep Blue-esque computer – except it’s mission is not playing chess, but Question Answering – in other words, going one step further than the likes of Google. Instead of giving you a list of possible pages where you can find an answer, it gives you an answer – making ‘talking’ to computers something even easier.

If you’re a Jeopardy! fan, you’ll know that back last April, IBM announced that Watson would someday play humans on an episode of Jeopardy! (which has been the game of choice for the Watson project). Here’s the video from then…

And while it’s been a long road to home for Watson, here’s the scary part: It’s ready.

Watson now can understand the intricate wordplay of Jeopardy!, which is pretty incredible. There are still hiccups – humans still have the element of quicker neuron firing versus Watson’s hundreds of algorithms used to find the right answer, and sometimes, there are hiccups in those algorithms (we’ve found out that Watson really likes Tommy Lee Jones) – but he can take on – and probably win – against lower champions. It’ll probably be a few more years and many more practice games for Watson before he can take on superchamp Ken Jennings (who, as the article suggests, will probably be his on-air apponent), mind you, but this thing’s ready for the real world.

Skynet, here we come.


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