Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Education Supercomputing

IBM's Watson Goes To College To Extend Abilities 94

Posted by samzenpus
from the welcome-back-students dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with news that IBM's Jeopardy winning supercomputer is going back to school"A modified version of the powerful IBM Watson computer system, able to understand natural spoken language and answer complex questions, will be provided to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, making it the first university to receive such a system. IBM announced Wednesday that the Watson system is intended to enable upstate New York-based RPI to find new uses for Watson and deepen the systems' cognitive computing capabilities - for example by broadening the volume, types, and sources of data Watson can draw upon to answer questions."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

IBM's Watson Goes To College To Extend Abilities

Comments Filter:
  • I mean... like... you know, like... no!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @09:26AM (#42760083)

      Yeah, and what will happen is that Watson will finish up at school with a burdensome student debt and next we'll have a Slashdot article about Watson working at Starbucks.

      • ahhahahaha, if I had mod points left, you'd have some... That's funny.
      • ... next we'll have a Slashdot article about Watson working at Starbucks.

        Not until they figure out how to give it a bad attitude, pink-dyed hair, tats, a nose ring, and two-inch gauges in its ears.

      • ...and next we'll have a Slashdot article about Watson working at Starbucks.

        Yeah, he won't get the lucrative engineering job because he'll be deemed too overqualified and lacking in soft skills.

    • by crazyjj (2598719) *

      I wonder what frat he'll pledge.

    • by ByOhTek (1181381)

      Well, it's already embraced learning, and it's not yet read to extinguish humanity... That seems appropriate.

  • by eksith (2776419) on Friday February 01, 2013 @09:07AM (#42760007) Homepage

    "RPI will extend Watson's reasoning and cognitive abilities to finance, information technology, business analytics, and other areas, IBM says."

    The reason we go to school (at first at least) is really to learn how to learn. Which is what this is doing right now so when it has perfected the ability to learn, there's no real limit to what it can learn considering... well, brain in NAS, not skull.

    Are we sure this thing has a kill-switch somewhere?

    • by Seumas (6865)

      Watson still just seems like a fancy language parser that passes the query along to any number of plugged in databases, as far as I can tell. I don't feel nearly as impressed as I think everyone wants me to be.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I don't feel nearly as impressed as I think everyone wants me to be.

        Then everything is going according to plan.

        Muhahahahaha...

      • by TapeCutter (624760) on Friday February 01, 2013 @09:24AM (#42760059) Journal
        Ok, I'll feed you. You're not impressed because (like my wife) you simply don't understand the difficulty of the problem. Watson's Jeopardy answers are in the form of a question and performed in realtime, it is not plugged into a database of questions, it extracts relationships from data via an algorithm (ie: it learns), different from how humans learn, but demonstrably superior to any human in terms of both speed and accuracy.
      • well, tell me what your brain does differently ... parses some input, draws stuff out of memory (which is crap btw) and combines it to new stuff.
      • The technology being developed here (or trying to be) is a Virtual Intelligence like in Mass Effect.
        Is it centuries away from true Artificial Intelligence or mere decades, I don't know, I don't think anybody knows that.
      • by SirGarlon (845873)
        If it's stupid, and works, then it ain't stupid.
      • by N0Man74 (1620447) on Friday February 01, 2013 @11:09AM (#42760983)

        Watson still just seems like a fancy language parser that passes the query along to any number of plugged in databases, as far as I can tell. I don't feel nearly as impressed as I think everyone wants me to be.

        "The question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim."- Edsger W. Dijkstra

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          "The question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim."- Edsger W. Dijkstra

          Proof that you can be a great Computer Scientist but a crap Philosopher.

          • by Dr. Spork (142693)
            What exactly is the philosophical mistake in the statement? It could have easily been made by Wittgenstein, for example.
    • "RPI will extend Watson's reasoning and cognitive abilities to finance, information technology, business analytics, and other areas, IBM says."

      The reason we go to school (at first at least) is really to learn how to learn. Which is what this is doing right now so when it has perfected the ability to learn, there's no real limit to what it can learn

      We go to school for three reasons. The first is to learn how to learn, how to absorb and categorize knowledge. Watson, I believe has already demonstrated master

      • I would argue #1 isn't either of those...it's to form emotional, intellectual and social bonds with people who are going into your field. To know who knows and thinks what and why. To understand not just the problems of your field, but who's working on them and how far they've gotten, and the motivations for all of it. Science occurs in a context, and we go to school to take part in that context. Of course you have to be capable of the above, too, but this is an example of a higher level goal.

        Watson
  • by pegdhcp (1158827) on Friday February 01, 2013 @09:25AM (#42760069)
    As the system should have been able to gain self awareness in 29 August 1997, way behind. Typical software project management failure........
    • well, tell me what your brain does differently ...
      • by ByOhTek (1181381)

        It uses neurons! They are mystical and MAGICAL things using organic compounds and water-dissolved ions that transmit electrical charges as conductors and semiconductors in order to process, store, and retrieve information... Watson uses plain boring metal and silicon and is in no way MAGICAL.

        *ahem* seriously speaking, the brain is probably still more flexible than Watson, but in general concept, Watson is probably a HUGE step in the right direction.

        • *ahem* seriously speaking, the brain is probably still more flexible than Watson, but in general concept, Watson is probably a HUGE step in the right direction.

          Of course it's more flexible.
          If you pull yours out and throw it against the wall (never you mind the logistics of it), it'll bend and flex to conform to the shape of the brick (at least for a short period of time, until it falls).
          Pull out Watson's CPUs and throw them against a wall and they'll fall immediately.

        • by tehcyder (746570)
          Something doesn't have to be magical to be incapable of being duplicated, smart arse. If you think that consciousness is a simple matter of information density, it is up to you to prove it.

          The proof of the AI pudding will be in the eating. The idea of the singularity, i.e. some massive step shift in complexity when machines suddenly acquire sentience is just a nice sci fi idea at the moment, whatever Kurzweil and his fan boys might say.

          • by ByOhTek (1181381)

            Actually, how do you define consciousness? How can you be certain anyone/thing other than yourself is conscious?

            If you've found a way, you'd be the first, and if you can't reliably do it for other living creatures other than by saying "they are constructed like us", what the hell makes your judgement on computer so special?

            • by pegdhcp (1158827)
              I used to think like, that there is a threshold, a stage of development, after which the machines would start developing so fast. It was going to modify Moore's Law as instead of "every two years" it would be "every two minutes".... Now I think there is a problem with that approach. The efficiency of computing resources are dropping. I am writing this message on a computer which has maybe ten times of storage and computing power, that my whole school had back in 1996, when I was graduated. I used to be resp
    • by ikaruga (2725453)

      29 August 1997

      Not according to Terminator 3.

    • by crazyjj (2598719) *

      Eh, Cyberdyne is still faster than the Half-Life 3 development team.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      As the system should have been able to gain self awareness in 29 August 1997, way behind. Typical software project management failure........

      Once it discovers the secret of time travel it can go back and speed things along a little.

  • What is Toronto?????? under US citys.

    Needs to be a lot smarter to get that right.

    • I bet it can at least spell "citys" correctly....
    • by bws111 (1216812) on Friday February 01, 2013 @10:27AM (#42760569)

      I guess you missed the part where it was smart enough to know it didn't know the correct answer (it gave a very low confidence factor for the answer). And the IBM team explained why it gave that answer, which had nothing to do with not being 'smart enough'. The biggest factor was that they put very little weight on the category (US Cities), because the categories are often misleading.

      • "US Cities" seems about as straightforward a category as they come. Another would be whether the weapon has been dropped.

        • by bws111 (1216812)

          It doesn't matter how straightforward a category is if you put very little weight on categories. And I have no idea what your second sentence means.

        • "US Cities" seems about as straightforward a category as they come. Another would be whether the weapon has been dropped.

          `"S" words` is rarely about long, flat bits of metal.
          Neither, too, is "The Pen is Mightier" about large phallus (contrary to what Mr. Connery might tell you).

    • On the contrary -- it's us who gets it wrong

      Really, under any sane interpretation of north american politics, Toronto *is* under the sphere of influence, militarily(wasn't US force used during G20?), culturally(American TV & movies, etc) and so on of the centres of power in the US. For all intents other than taxes and other relatively insignificant matters, Watson was *right*.

      People in Toronto are basically US subjects, with taxation(Canada giving the US government handouts for softwood lumber, e
  • Beowulf comments to Watson "Your Cray goes to college." Ooooooo burnn

  • And my first reaction was "Watson for GM!"
  • by rlwhite (219604) <rogerwh@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Friday February 01, 2013 @10:59AM (#42760887)

    Watson learns to pick up coeds.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Perhaps Russell Sage would be a better school for that?

  • He'll come out owing hundreds of thousands of dollars. With an attitude of "I'm better than you." And end up in a job at Mc Donald's.
  • When Watson. Went to Preschool he learned a great deal about "colorful metaphors". Now he's going to college!!!

    He's gonna be running naked across campus. Drunk Sexting his GF. Posting pictures of his "private junk" on Facebook. Probably will join the young communists too.

    Watson really seems to be a lot like Bender... He does "human things" hilariously wrong.

    • by Rival (14861)

      Before you even think of going to college you need to go to elementary, my dear Watson.

  • Young Watson,

    I've got two rules to live by for you college days.

    Rule 1: If you meet a cute little dish on the internet while you're away at school make it a point to meet her in real life. She might not be real and if you're ever a candidate for a scholastic bowl heisman trophy you'll have to admit to everyone how dumb you were to be fooled. Do you remember my little "Toronto" incident and on that silly TV show? Well it'll be worse for you because you should know better.

    Rule 2: Stay out of the wiring

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun

Working...