Digging deeper into Watson’s win

By now you’ve probably had your fill of the whole topic of machine bettering human as was allegedly evidenced by a recent well-covered episode of the game show, Jeopardy. I doubt however, that you’ve had the time, or maybe even the interest, to dig a little deeper into that.

The daily deadline-driven media loves to put these sorts of stories front and center, I think, to raise controversy, discussion, and a general state of societal anxiety and panic.  Which, of course, creates a much better environment for selling the next day’s edition and the one after that. I don’t dismiss the newsworthy-ness of the event. It is impressive that we’ve reached a point in time where a computer can play a game with, and beat, humans who are recognized champions. What I find silly is the question of whether we’ve reached a point where machines are “thinking” at the same level as humans. The outcome of that game does not support such a conclusion. The outcome supports the conclusion that IBM assembled one very fast machine, with sophisticated programming, and which excels at multi-tasking.

Read this McKinsey report about IBM’s Watson if you want to better-understand the basic computing principles that played out on February 16.

About Peter Armaly
I get jazzed by automation, big data, and blockchain tech. Business, technology, and fitness are things I understand. Scotch, wine, food, and fiction are things I appreciate.

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