Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SuperComputer, Watson, on Jeopardy

IBM's Watson 'Our New Computer Overlord' in Jeopardy

Super Computer Watson

Being a computer expert myself, it is very interesting to watch machine with artificial intelligent competing against humans, its creator. I can say one thing for sure about machines that are used this way to show off their processing capabilities. That is that they have speed advantage.

Ken and Rutter Jeopardy Champions

It isn't that Ken and Rutter didn't have the knowledge or didn't know the questions to most or all the answers on the 3 day special Jeopardy. Obviously, they have made millions of dollars competing against other players in the past. The reason Watson, the supercomputer, won the game was its processing and response speed or in other ward multitasking. Even though human brain and computer processor work in the same or similar manner in responding to a question - understanding the question, remembering the facts and retrieving the correct answer, it is the speed at which the supercomputer executes these tasks or multitasks. Ken and Rutter only began to process the question towards the end of the answer as Alex Trebek read them. However, our Watson on the other hand has already come up with an answer and responds very quickly in milliseconds.

But one thing I noticed throughout the games was this. Watson seemed to always have an answer to questions that were related to places, people, things or ideas but not for questions that required human emotion or deeper understanding of the question being asked. Plus, the question needs to be worded certain way or Watson had problem there too. In fact, as they pointed out on the second day final Jeopardy that Watson answered it wrong with a lots of question marks at the end. Apparently, according to the IBM experts, Watson was looking for specific key phrases or key words to trigger his searches on. When the answers wasn't what Watson expected, it went with the best answer it got even though it was totally wrong.

Computer or Supercomputer can be neat and very very fast in processing speed - a lot faster than human brain, but they lack the ability to reason and to process emotion or to relate to each and every words they process. They purely work on key words or phrases to look for answers.

So, I say. Even though Watson beat humans, in the end humans are the one who created Watson. Therefore, human thinking and reasoning capacity has to be much more powerful than simple key word searching.