Tuesday, February 15, 2011

IBM Watson

One February 14-16, IBM's Watson supercomputer will compete on Jeopardy! against the top winners of all time, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Watson (named after IBM's founder, Thomas J. Watson) represents a huge leap in artificial intelligence and computers being able to understand natural language. I've had the privilege of working on some of marketing efforts around Watson and the Jeopardy program, and seeing the progress over the past year. It really is amazing to witness. I'm sure there will be a lot of dialog after the shows - and rightly so. The idea behind Watson is not to compete on game shows - but to change the way that people interact with computers. Until now, people have worked with computers on their terms - whether that is DOS, or Fortran, or Windows or OSX. Watson represents computers understanding of how humans speak - and having the computing power to then conduct research and answer queries (of any subject) within milliseconds. The possibilities are endless - healthcare, financial services, legal applications. Tune in - this will be fun to watch.

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