Jeopardy! and Artificial Intelligence
February 15, 2011, 02:45 PM
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Colby Cosh writes:
Having lived through the hype over IBM's 1997 Deep Blue challenge to human chessplayers, I find myself intensely irritated at IBM's 2011 assault on Jeopardy! ...
Jeopardy!, after all, doesn't demand that much in the way of language interpretation. Watson has to, at most, interpret text questions of no more than 25 or 30 words-questions which, by design, have only a single answer. It handles puns and figures of speech impressively, for a computer. But it doesn't do so in anything like the way humans do. IBM's ads would have you believe the opposite, but it bears emphasizing that Watson is not "getting" the jokes and wordplay of the Jeopardy! writers. It's using Bayesian math on the fly to pick out key nouns and phrases and pass them to a lookup table. If it sees "1564� and "Pisa", it's going to say "Galileo".