06.27.11

So what exactly is Jeopardy-winning computer Watson made of?

In case you were curious about how Watson, the Jeopardy-winning supercomputer, works up close, PC Mag took a deep dive. Keep your friends close and enemies closer, as they say:

Is Watson considered artificial intelligence? Chu-Carroll said it depends on your definition of AI. If you define AI as mimicking the human brain, then the answer is no. She said researchers take a more pragmatic approach to AI—Watson does not come up with answers the same way as humans. We make inferences, guesses, and understand the nuances of language better than Watson.

However, Watson is getting better at understanding the subtleties of language. It is able to process some puns and understand that language in Jeopardy! is can be used evoke some meanings other than the obvious. As we witnessed, Watson can play the game as well as the best players. Chu-Carroll said, “People say, ‘Well, airplanes don’t fly the same as birds do.’ Do you think airplanes are flying?”