[ExI] Watson on NOVA

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Mon Feb 14 05:29:44 UTC 2011

On Sun, Feb 13, 2011 at 2:28 AM, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, Feb 13, 2011 at 8:58 AM, Kelly Anderson  wrote:
> IBM PR makes big claims for Watson (but that's their job  :)  ).
> <http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/presskit/27297.wss>
> Quote:
> Watson's ability to understand the meaning and context of human
> language, and rapidly process information to find precise answers to
> complex questions, holds enormous potential to transform how computers
> help people accomplish tasks in business and their personal lives.
> Watson will enable people to rapidly find specific answers to complex
> questions. The technology could be applied in areas such as
> healthcare, for accurately diagnosing patients, to improve online
> self-service help desks, to provide tourists and citizens with
> specific information regarding cities, prompt customer support via
> phone, and much more.

I have absolutely no doubt that Watson-like systems can do this. As a
research assistant to a doctor, Watson would be invaluable. It is, in
fact, a new kind of search engine with a little more intelligence than
a Google type system. And while Google is not an AI, sometimes it
feels like it is. Watson isn't a general AI, but it will feel like it
is at least some of the time.

Honestly, I can't wait to watch Jeopardy tomorrow.

> -------------------------
> This article talks about what the developers are working on:
> <http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ibm-announces-eight-universities-contributing-to-the-watson-computing-systems-development-115892914.html>
> Looks like they are doing some pretty complex stuff in there.

No doubt. One clarification on this deal. While it doesn't appear that
Watson does much sophisticated natural language processing of the text
in its index, it does appear to do very sophisticated NLP of the
questions and categories. When that kind of sophistication is applied
on the index side as well, it should improve even more. I have no
direct evidence that they don't, it just didn't appear to be the case
from the NOVA show.


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