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Kurzweil: Watson Victory Matters

“Artificial intelligence is the study of how to make real computers act like the ones in the movies.” — Anonymous

Ray Kurzweil writes that Watson’s victory in a preliminary round of Jeopardy matters:

If you watch Watson’s performance, it appears to be at least as good as the best Jeopardy! players at understanding the nature of the question (or I should say the answer, since Jeopardy! presents the answer and asks for the question, which I always thought was a little tedious). Watson is able to then combine this ability to understand the level of language in a Jeopardy! query with a computer’s innate ability to accurately master a vast corpus of knowledge. I’ve always felt that once a computer masters a human’s level of pattern recognition and language understanding, it would inherently be far superior to a human because of this combination.

Today Watson runs on 90 servers, but Kurzweil goes on to say that its natural language capabilities are coming to us through the cloud and our mobile devices soon. To me, that sounds like AI in my pocket.

In a related thread, a new post the Softtalk blog points out that we are already mimicking human intelligence by using parallel processing power to access the massive data that’s out there on the net.

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