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Socoder -> Off Topic -> Is this really news?!

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Wed, 16 Feb 2011, 15:25
Jayenkai
A robot is currently kicking ass on TV's Jeopardy. Linkage

Fact : databases are quite good.

Is this really news?
I mean, seriously!?
Why are people amazed that a computer's quite good at answering questions?!
Isn't this just an advert?!
WTF is going on!?!?!

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Wed, 16 Feb 2011, 15:45
Stealth
This is a huge deal. Watson isn't just searching for answers, it understands what you're really asking it. It processes natural language, searches for answers, and then decides how confident it is in those answers. It breaks sentences down and processes nouns and verbs out. It understands what adjetives, prepositions, and adverbs are. It understands slang. More importantly, it finds meaningful answers. It was developed by 25 PHDs over 4 years.

I think if you look in to this more it may just blow your mind. It's essentially doing what our brains do.

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Wed, 16 Feb 2011, 16:22
JL235
I agree with Stealth here, it's not just a DB. You couldn't answer a single Jeopardy question within a year using a brute approach; it could be one of those problems that takes longer then age of the universe.

Think about it. On Jeopardy! they can ask about ANYTHING! yet this machine is able to answer correctly most of the time (I believe it's above 90%) and in real-time (or at least a few secs).

It uses thousands of algorithms to scan through it's vast database in multiple ways. Like how if I ask about 'Germany' you might think of it via history, geography, culture, language, the colours of the flag and so on. There are so many different contexts that such simple words and name can take up, I'm totally amazed that this is able to work this stuff out.

What's most amazing is that our PC's today are able to run rings around super computers from 20 years ago. So we could have technology doing this in the parm of our hand within another 20 years.
Wed, 16 Feb 2011, 16:33
steve_ancell
Fact : databases are quite good.

Fact is, that's all the computer does. It just searches a database, in order to match a question to an answer.

If a kid is given a cardboard box, some paper plates, some pens and a wooden spoon, that chances are, that kid will stick a plate to the box and call it a steering-wheel, use the rest of the plates as wheels and shove the spoon through the top of the box ans pretend it is a gearstick. Any one of us would instantly recognize that as an idiom for a car, a computer does not do that, as it would need to be programmed into its database first. The computer may be able to pick something out that represents the mock-up car, but it will always identify it as a cardboard box, some paper plates, some pens and a wooden spoon.

The same would apply if you show a kid a space-rocket, he may see it as an idiom of a steaming great phallus. The computer will simply recognize it as a rocket or, if programmed to do so, an idiom but without seeing it as funny.

I agree it is interesting, but I think we have a long way to go before computers will have humor.
Wed, 16 Feb 2011, 17:09
Jayenkai
I just don't get the whole "TV Show/Audience/Showy Offy" aspect of it all.
There doesn't seem to be a point to all that, other than to advertise IBM's "amazing" tech.
Seems a little one-sided.

Now.. If it were "Techardy!" and they had 3 competing sets of techies making little robot players that all played each other.. sure.. I could get into that.

But this is "IBM ARE AWESOME!!!"

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Wed, 16 Feb 2011, 17:49
JL235
steve_ancell Any one of us would instantly recognize that as an idiom for a car, a computer does not do that, as it would need to be programmed into its database first. The computer may be able to pick something out that represents the mock-up car, but it will always identify it as a cardboard box, some paper plates, some pens and a wooden spoon.

Actually no, your quite wrong. There would be nothing to stop a hypothetical computer recognising the parts that make up your car and then build the relationships between the items to build context; so it can tell what it represents. Just like a human it would also only be providing an educated guess based on the information it had.

AI algorithms are capable of learning. Only within themselves, but they are capable. Given the complexity and sheer size of Watson, that means it could learn quite a lot.
Wed, 16 Feb 2011, 18:06
steve_ancell
Actually no, your quite wrong. There would be nothing to stop a hypothetical computer recognising the parts that make up your car and then build the relationships between the items to build context; so it can tell what it represents. Just like a human it would also only be providing an educated guess based on the information it had.

AI algorithms are capable of learning. Only within themselves, but they are capable. Given the complexity and sheer size of Watson, that means it could learn quite a lot.

I do see your point, but due to the fact that I don't fully understand how A.I works, I just find it hard to decide whether a computer can actually be intelligent or just perform tasks that are based on a pre-programmed response.

We can have a choice of yes, no or maybe, where a computer only knows yes or no.
Wed, 16 Feb 2011, 18:40
Stealth
I just don't get the whole "TV Show/Audience/Showy Offy" aspect of it all.
There doesn't seem to be a point to all that, other than to advertise IBM's "amazing" tech.


This is exactly what they are trying to do. They are showing the world the power of computers.

|edit| This is a link to the program. IBM offers a lot of insight in to the design process of Watson and how complicated it truly is. |edit|

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Wed, 16 Feb 2011, 22:02
mindstorm8191
I think its really a matter of how Walter was built. I mean, if it already has all the facts organized into different subjects, then it wouldn't be hard for a program to manage all the Jepoardy questions. If, on the other hand, it only had pages from different encyclopedias which it had to scan for, and then sort out what pieces to collect, it might be quite a bit harder. I dunno...

I still think its being over-hyped a bit.

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Vesuvius web game
Wed, 16 Feb 2011, 23:06
Stealth
mindstorm8191 it only had pages from different encyclopedias which it had to scan for, and then sort out what pieces to collect, it might be quite a bit harder.


This is what it does.

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Thu, 17 Feb 2011, 02:49
Afr0
Walter


Watson!

You're insulting it.

Edit: Is it even an 'it'? Would it be legible to call it a 'he'?

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Thu, 17 Feb 2011, 05:37
HoboBen
Was anyone else surprised by how small it is? Only two rows of racks (ninety IBM Power750 servers, 4 CPUS, 8 Cores each).

That's not "ludicrous" power. Moore's Law puts that at about nine years away!

Considering how IBM had much more space to throw hardware at the problem, it's clearly some very clever software.

"IBM also intends to market the DeepQA software to large corporations, with a price in the millions of dollars, reflecting the $1 million needed to acquire the complete system that runs Watson. IBM expects the price to drop substantially within a decade as the technology improves."
Wikipedia: reference

All we need now is a big advance in speech-recognition software, and we've got one very clever machine.

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Thu, 17 Feb 2011, 05:42
steve_ancell
Is it even an 'it'? Would it be legible to call it a 'he'?

Trust me!, it is "It". It needs to be alive to be "He".
Thu, 17 Feb 2011, 05:53
JL235
steve_ancell Trust me!, it is "It". It needs to be alive to be "He".

But if I wrote a piece of software that could do everything a human could do, then how would that computer still be less alive then us?
Thu, 17 Feb 2011, 06:24
steve_ancell
But if I wrote a piece of software that could do everything a human could do, then how would that computer still be less alive then us?

We pump blood, it doesn't. I do see it from your POV though. There will eventually be a point in time when a computer will stop being a computer, I just think we have a long way to go before we have some thing that is like i-Robot.
Thu, 17 Feb 2011, 07:14
dantheman363
@Steve

Ya, I agree. It will still be a while...maybe in my lifetime though?

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Extraterrestrial Grail
Thu, 17 Feb 2011, 08:34
Afr0
We pump blood, it doesn't. I do see it from your POV though. There will eventually be a point in time when a computer will stop being a computer, I just think we have a long way to go before we have some thing that is like i-Robot.


This is a really interesting discussion though.
In the end, it is up to each individual to judge whether or not a 'machine' is 'alive'.

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Thu, 17 Feb 2011, 12:41
shroom_monk
steve ancell We pump blood, it doesn't.

The plants are all dead!


I think what really encompasses being alive is anything that takes in resources to build and rebuild itself in order to survive, and can reproduce more of itself. Simply being able to think or pump blood doesn't really cut it, because plants.

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Keep It Simple, Shroom!
Thu, 17 Feb 2011, 12:44
Stealth
Our sense of "life" is just a complex illusion our brain creates. We're just the result of very complex chemical processes.

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Thu, 17 Feb 2011, 13:16
shroom_monk
Stealth Our sense of "life" is just a complex illusion our brain creates. We're just the result of very complex chemical processes.

I think this is true, at least for consciousness, but if we're going to have words such as 'alive' and 'conscious', then we need to be able to define them.

-=-=-
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Keep It Simple, Shroom!
Thu, 17 Feb 2011, 13:20
Afr0
rebuild itself in order to survive, and can reproduce more of itself.


So any virus or program that is polymorphic in nature is alive?

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Thu, 17 Feb 2011, 13:58
shroom_monk
Actually, the whole of that part of what I said was:
takes in resources to build and rebuild itself in order to survive, and can reproduce more of itself

A virus doesn't really 'take in' and 'consume' real, natural resources, so it's not alive.

-=-=-
A mushroom a day keeps the doctor away...

Keep It Simple, Shroom!
Thu, 17 Feb 2011, 19:38
steve_ancell
The plants are all dead!

Na! they're just weird.
Thu, 17 Feb 2011, 19:46
dna
the computer won

It was predictable.
Fri, 18 Feb 2011, 20:00
mindstorm8191
On the subject of IBM projects, what would someone ever use more computing power for, at least these days? Assuming a million dollar computer setup could comprehend and answer complex problems in real-time, what would a 10-million dollar computer be able to do?

It seems we have approached a point in computers where computing power isn't a limit, but coming up with the code to manage it is. Perhaps computers will be able to begin solving problems of various complexities at that point.

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Sat, 19 Feb 2011, 00:24
Afr0
Yesterday I saw 'I, Robot' with Will Smith.
Anyone else seen it?
It poses a very legible question... once a computer stops being a computer and becomes something... more, is it ok to kill it?

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