Tuesday June 25, 2019

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In Northern Westchester, IBM’s Watson Takes Jeopardy Lead

As IBM’s Watson supercomputer climbed ahead of both of its human competitors last night on Jeopardy (which was taped at IBM”s Yorktown Heights, NY research center), it must now be considered what a win for the computer would actually mean.  John Seabrook of The New Yorker questions if Watson’s win would be one for humanity, a breakthrough in science or just “an elaborate parlor trick.”

Seabrook questions if there are practical applications for Watson beyond Jeopardy that would allow IBM to get back the investment of over a billion dollars spent on building the machine.  There has been talk so far of a “Watson M.D.” to work in doctors’ offices and also of a Watson-enabled device for cars that would aid mechanics in determining problems. 

Darren Hayes, a computer science professor at Pace University said in an interview with Seabrook that Watson could also play an important role in intelligence-gathering by improving the quality of analysis done by the Department of Homeland Security.

The New Yorker