(photo credit: IBM Israel/Jeopardy Productions, Inc.)
Move over Hal, Deep Blue and Jonny 5 – there’s a new computer in
RELATED:IBM predicts top 5 technologies in next 5 years
Known as the Watson Project after IBM’s founder Thomas J. Watson,
it is readying itself to play Jeopardy live against two of the show’s champions.
Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.
Scheduled to air on February 14-16, Watson
was designed by IBM scientists to be able to answer any question posed in
Jeopardy was deemed the best format to challenge Watson
because the game’s clues involve analyzing subtle meaning, irony, riddles and
other complexities in which humans excel and computers traditionally do not, IBM
Jennings and Rutter are both multi-million dollar winners on the
long running game show.
Watson has been developed over the last four
years by IBM labs around the world, including the Haifa one. According to
researchers David Carmel and Dafna Sheinwald, who contributed to the worldwide
effort in developing Watson and lead the project in Israel, the Jeopardy project
is a big challenge. It represents the need for very broad knowledge where each
one of the hints given can include information that is either relevant or
completely irrelevant when it comes to searching for the final
Human beings are capable of instantly telling the difference
between pertinent and superfluous information when searching for the end result
–but a computer can’t make that distinction. The machines must weigh all the
parameters in an equal manner in order to understand, the two said in a
Watson has spent the fall practicing against Jeopardy
Tournament of Champions Winners and has also passed the standard test given to
all potential contestants to qualify for the show.
While having Watson
play Jeopardy is a good way to refine its Deep Question and Answer programming,
it has potential real world applications as well.
“Take a call center for
instance. Watson could theoretically replace humans and answer every question
correctly based on its vast databases,” IBM Research Chief Technology Officer
Paul Bloom told The Jerusalem Post
Other applications could
include diagnosing patients, providing information to tourists and more.