Innovation Slideshow: Watson's Jeopardy Showdown: Man Vs. Machine

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 02-08-2011
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Watson's Jeopardy Showdown: Man Vs. Machine

Watson's Jeopardy Showdown: Man Vs. Machine

Answer: He is the man Watson is named for.
An epic showdown of man vs. machine took place Feb. 14-16, 2011. That's when "Watson ," a computing system from IBM, faced off against "Jeopardy!" superstars Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Turns out, an artificial intelligence-driven machine can overcome championship-level human minds. With Watson, the key challenge isn't a command of statistics and factoids. It's a matter of programming a computing system that can pick up the subtle nuances of the game show, including knowing how to bet. This requires understanding of language, including the puns and irony that provide the subtle clues hidden in the often-clever wording of the Jeopardy! answer-and-question trivia format. Ultimately, Watson is designed to help us determine the extent to which intelligent machines can be used to resolve problems related to technology, health care and a broad range of other topics. In the book Final Jeopardy: Man vs Machine and the Quest to Know Everything (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Available now), author Stephen Baker details the history of Watson leading up to the big event. Machines like Watson will eventually emerge as the norm in offices, factories and emergency rooms, Baker contends, as well as influencing our smartphones. "Each one of us will have to figure out how to leverage these smart systems for our own good -- and not be replaced by them," he says. "Our brains are still the most intricate, complex and brilliant thinking machines on earth. But we have to figure out how to use them in concert with the machinery we're building." Looking to test your own knowledge? In honor of the Man Vs. Machine showdown, CIO Insight used information from Baker's book and other resources to create this Jeopardy!-styled quiz to test how much you really know about IBM's Watson.
Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.


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