IBM’s AI to challenge humans on Jeopardy! quiz show

28 Apr 2009

There’s no denying the fact that advanced artificial intelligence (AI) can outwit chess experts, as evidenced by IBM’s Deep Blue trouncing the reigning World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.

However, when it comes to the very human pastime of general knowledge and the game show, it’s a big ask for AI that can not only wrap its head around a wide range of topics, but also process the context and format of questions and answers.

IBM plans to break through this with Watson, a highly advanced question answering system that will soon be able to compete in a game show against us humans.

In fact, classic US game show Jeopardy! plans to put Watson in the hot seat in a human v computers version.

And don’t worry – Watson will not cheat by connecting to the internet and scouring Wikipedia and Google! It will be offline and on its own for the duration of the show.

This is how Watson will work its magic: “The essence of making decisions is recognising patterns in vast amounts of data, sorting through choices and options, and responding quickly and accurately,” said Samuel J Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer.

“Watson is a compelling example of how the planet – companies, industries, cities – is becoming smarter.

“With advanced computing power and deep analytics, we can infuse business and societal systems with intelligence.”

By Marie Boran