Watson, Turing, Minsky & the Future of AI

The verdict is in. Watson is the winner in this Battle of the Titans on Jeopardy! The much publicized game show contest between the IBM supercomputer and the two greatest Jeopardy contestants ever ended in a blowout. Read an Associated Press article about what happened in this showdown between man and machine.

What does it all mean?

Check out this Wall Street Journal op-ed from Ray Kurzweil, author of “The Singularity is Near.”

Plus, here’s an article from Lance Ulanoff, the Editor in Chief for the PCMag Digital Network, about what Watson means for the future of PCs.

And you may be interested in this recent interview with Artificial Intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky from MIT.  Here is Dr. Minsky’s take on Watson:

“But if we’re impressed by somebody’s program that plays Jeopardy!, then we have to ask, is this because it’s taking a lot of data and doing something really stupid like the chess programs do, having no knowledge of chess itself but only knowing how to do, say, 20 of a certain kind of search and that’s all there is to it? If that’s the answer, then yes, ignorant people will be impressed, but people who understand how it works won’t be impressed.

“If Watson is little more than a glorified chess-playing computer, than AI experts will not be wowed. Now, the minute the Watson people publish a scientific paper saying how they did it, then we’ll have something to discuss, because maybe some of us will say, ‘Yes, that is a good new idea, I’m really interested.’ Or, as in the case of chess programs, we’ll say, ‘Now, I see, this is just another worthless, stupid trick that answers the kinds of questions that most people are interested in for no particular reason’—like what date did a certain baseball player make a certain kind of play. That doesn’t require any intelligence to answer if you have the answer in a list,” says Minsky.

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