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Old 02-17-2011, 01:00 PM   #41
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The buzzer thing is complicated. Pretty sure that Watson does not buzz in until he gets green light plus an answer with a certain confidence level.

The humans can buzz in right after the green light even when they don't have an answer formed yet. They can buzz in if they see a few words and can quickly be thinking, "I got a pretty good idea, I can figure the detailed correct answer after I buzz in". They get a few seconds to respond and they often use it - you can see that, the wheels are still turning after they buzz in. Watson doesn't do that.

So maybe the only 'fair' determination would be to forget the buzzers/lights and keep the contestants isolated and just time how fast they can give a correct answer (judged by the end of the final syllable of their answer).

It was fun to watch, but it wouldn't be so interesting beyond that. But wow - what this technology will be doing in the next few years.

edit - another way that might make it 'fair' - let everyone buzz in at anytime. But double the penalty for wrong answers to avoid buzzing just to get the chance to answer, the humans would have to have a decent level of confidence in their answer or they'd go negative. Maybe still require Watson to wait for Alex, to account for the human reading versus texting to Watson.

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Old 02-17-2011, 01:29 PM   #42
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The whole 'timing the buzzer' thing is really just a funny side issue. If Watson can mimic much of human language understanding in a speed close to real time (the speed humans can do the task within), then it's just a processor upgrade away from performing the task faster than humans.

That's a generally recognized phenomena in AI research.
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Old 02-17-2011, 03:40 PM   #43
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The Watson program definitely had the buzzer timing advantage over the human opponents, but there was probably no way to avoid that and surely IBM would not have entered (masterminded) the competition if otherwise. The real achievement was in the percentage of correct answers. IIRC 90% was considered the threshold needed for a system to be considered "equivalent" to a human expert.

Knowledge based systems have been limited by context and programmer knowledge. That is, the program could only work within a limited context (medical diagnosis) and was based on the knowledge of the individual programmers. Together these have been very limiting factors. IBM has showcased a program not limited by either, and the very public way it was presented implies it is ready for wider-scale commercial use. The potential for productivity improvement is immense. A few areas of opportunity:

Medical: Diagnosis and selection of treatment

Public Services: (social security, medicare, IRS) where providing information is an important and costly part of the mission

Education: knowledge based systems for student questions built around multimedia, computer based or large scale remote learning systems

Technical support: software troubleshooting wizards that actually solve problems. (I might even stop hating MS)

User or customer interface:

Auditing and forensic accounting

Intelligence gathering and analysis

Military: This is an area of almost unlimited opportunity
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Old 02-17-2011, 06:56 PM   #44
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I am rooting for the humans. Can you spell skynet?
Watson is a clear winner! Nothing can go wrong, go wrong...
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Old 02-17-2011, 07:55 PM   #45
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...

Technical support: software troubleshooting wizards that actually solve problems. (I might even stop hating MS)
Ha! Like MS would buy something from IBM -- probably not. Oh, but a third party could do it. Well, that's possible.
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:31 AM   #46
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I often watch Jeopardy and was watching last night when Watson was competing. Very interesting. One thing I noticed was that Watson seemed to beat the humans on buzzing in, not that the humans didn't know the "questions", just that they didn't get the chance to answer. It seemed that the human reaction time couldn't compete with the machine's.

I wonder what the outcome would be if the contestants were allowed to buzz in BEFORE the question reading ended. I suspect that the humans would sometimes be able to make an intuitive leap to the correct question before Watson could complete "his" algorithm process. As it is, Watson may already be well into his "thought" process before the reading of the question ends.

I wonder if the programmers were embarrassed when one of the humans gave the wrong answer and then Watson buzzed in and gave the same wrong answer. An obvious oversight in their logic.
+1. I would be interested in hearing the logic/criteria used for the buzz in.

Did Watson have to push an actual button down via a mechanical device (like the other players) or was it electronic (unfair).
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:40 AM   #47
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Someecards - someone posted a humorous cartoon: Jeopardy categories that could bring down Watson. Can't reproduce here due to language. see here Culturally Biased Comic About Watson On Jeopardy | someecards.com
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:44 AM   #48
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+1. I would be interested in hearing the logic/criteria used for the buzz in.

Did Watson have to push an actual button down via a mechanical device (like the other players) or was it electronic (unfair).
Both. They did hook up a mechanical button presser, but the speed of an electro-mechanical device is still going to be 'unfair' compared to human reaction times of around 0.16 seconds.

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Old 02-18-2011, 09:34 AM   #49
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Funny.

Were there any video or audio clues in the games that Watson played?
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Old 02-18-2011, 04:15 PM   #50
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Funny.

Were there any video or audio clues in the games that Watson played?
No that was the one of the concession that the producers made to eliminate audio and video daily doubles.
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:06 PM   #51
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Intelligence gathering and analysis
Military: This is an area of almost unlimited opportunity
They call it DARPA now...
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