During the week that passed a historic session of Jeopardy has been played in the USA. IBM supercomputer Watson took on the two most skillde human competitors, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, that after a three day battle was beaten, with a margin.
IBM’s baby started off the competition limping where both Jennings and Rutter got the first points, but it gained experience and was in shared lead with Rutter at 5,000 dollar after the first day.
The second day Watson took command and even if the supercompuer missed a ”daily double” at the end of the day it had a big lead already. The third day ended in a grand victory for Watson at 77,147 dollar against Ken Jenning’s 24,000 dollar and Brad Rutters 21,600 dollar.
Watson has been in development for 4 years and cost many millions of dollars being built by 25 top scientists, and the result is a computer smart enough to compete on Jeopardy. Watson is built on the same AI technology that was used with the chess computer Deep Blue at the end of the 90’s.
Watson was pictured as a monitor on the TV show has in fact 2,800 cores to its disposal and memory worth over 15 TB that was crammed full of information and knowledge that was stored during the years in development. Watson was not connected to the Internet during the show. It was pretty clear that the base of knowledge was almost endless, but the AI still had a hard time understanding and interpreting puns and jokes that appeared during the show.
“The Holy Grail here is to create a technology that can understand what you’re asking, the way you’re asking it,” sa Dave Ferrucci, chefsforskare i Watson-projektet. “People want to do more with all the content we have.”
The victory gave IBM 1 million dollar to give away to its charity of choice. It also showed us how far the technology has come and how little can sometimes separate man from machine.