Sunday, October 16, 2011

Final Jeopardy by Stephen Baker

Finished reading Final Jeopardy, covering the popular game show match between IBM's Watson and human champions. The pace of the book was pleasant; not too slow to be boring, not too fast to be sketchy. I do not regularly watch television, but I recall people gathering in front of the large TV in our building in one afternoon watching it.

The author excellently described in easy terms why this "question answering" was a harder problem than just finding documents that contain words with search engines. The machine needs to understand (or at least "pretend as if it understands") synonyms and concepts to a certain degree to give plausible answer to clues expressed in human language.

I however found the "search engines are dumb, machine needs to go one level higher" a somewhat antiquated notion, after recently seeing results from Google and Bing for "cartoon about pc and mac users updating software", "movie in which scientists go to brain in submarine" and such.

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