Thu 17 Feb 2011
Yesterday a computer beat a Mormon at a trivia game. Riveting, right?!? Let me break the excitement down for you. Jeopardy is an old school answer and question game– you know the format: A: The coolest website in Utah (probably). Q: What is ryanbyrd.net?
But for clearly defined queries, that’s what we have Wikipedia and Google for. If you don’t know something, don’t phone Ken Jennings or any other uber-nerd, GOOGLE IT. IBM demonstrated that computers are good at searching and recalling distinct pieces of information in a rapid manner in a highly structured situation. But we already knew that, like, 50 years ago.
Here’s how you build Watson:
1- Load in all previous Jeopardy answers and questions into a database
2- Load in other data sets of questions and answers from quiz books
3- Install a language parser (to tease out the important words from any fluff in the answer)
4- Parse the answer. “He played the lead role in the award-winning Zombies are Forever film”: He, played, lead, zombies are forever, film
6- Search vertical data sets (like IMDB for films)
7- Rank each result with a relevance score
8- Buzz, return the highest ranked result
I, for one, don’t see any computer overloads yet, so they won’t get my welcome. This “win” is neither culturally, nor technologically relevant. I’m embarrassed to have devoted any blog space to such an underachievement.