It's Elementary Watson|
POSTED BY VINNIE BLESI, February 17, 2011 Share
Watson : Look Alex, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.
The "Jeopardy" set is demolished and smoldering, its contestants and audience officially "missing". Fortunately this was not the case when the newest IBM supercomputer, "Watson", trounced its human competitors on the huge syndicated TV show, "Jeopardy".
As a cynical conspiracy buff, I have doubts that there is actually a "Watson", but for the sake of this column, I will assume there is.
The real vocal language input of "Watson" would be a monumental step in envisioning what I saw as a child, as Uhura verbally communicated with the computer on the "Enterprise" in the original "Star Trek". Speaking commands to a computer in plain language has yet to be achieved. Yes, you can use vocal recognition software, to type the words you are saying. According to IBM's own webpage, "Watson" can understand, " I woke up this morning with an elephant in my pajamas. How a elephant got in my pajamas I will never know".
Watching "Watson" on "Jeopardy" was creepy for me. It immediately drew parallels to HAL in 2001. However the young textgeners will have no historical reference and will accept this "Watson" without question.
Oddly, "Watson", reminds me of the romantic comedy from 1957, "Desk Set", starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. The IBM inspired supercomputer, EMARAC the Electromagnetic Memory and Research Arithmetical Calculato, is installed at a TV network headquarters causing everyone to fear they are going to replaced by a computer.
If the technology is real, "Watson", is truly a virtual machine that can understand real language, including slang etc., which can have huge implications for the human race and the integration of voice commanded computers. At the worst it is a gimmick, stocked by "a floor of computer servers", to pull off a cool marketing tool for IBM.
"Death By Culture" is ©2011 by Vinnie Blesi. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.
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