IBM’s supercomputer Watson now knows you and tells you the news

23 Jul 2015

So IBM’s supercomputer has continued to evolve, with it now capable of off-the-cuff judgements and terribly intricate news gathering.

Yesterday we discovered Watson’s new ‘personality insights’, whereby you upload some text you’ve written and it tells you everything about yourself – try it here.

I, for example, love orderliness, have a 90pc interest in adventure (presumably in an orderly fashion) and have little interest in art (16pc) or emotion (11pc). You can click on the below to see it more easily.

IBM personality insights - IBM Watson

Considering the text I supplied was from this article on climate change, draw your own conclusions as to its accuracy.

All I know is I’m not uploading anything else to IBM’s experiment and taking this at face value, very much how Watson takes me, it seems.*

Today’s news, today

Of more interest is Watson’s ‘news explorer’ site, a big data goldmine.

Operating as a terribly detailed web page, users simple search for a person, company or organisation and are treated to a stream of what at first appears to be utter nonsense.

For example, I just looked up Colin Farrell, because why not? Again, click on the below to see it more clearly.

IBM News Explorer - IBM Watson

It didn’t start well. The opening details were missing because “dBPedia, a service that is used to obtain a description and image for our entities, is not responding”.

Below that there’s a stream of articles relating to Colin Farrell and in the centre of the screen there’s a terrifying DNA-styled map of related stories (below).

IBM Related articles on News Explorer - IBM Watson

To the right, there’s a map highlighting where these stories originate and below there is the all important, in no way space filling, word cloud.

“With Watson we can cognitively filter the news according to the topics and entities that we are looking for,” reads the promo video.

First impressions are mixed but, unlike Watson’s personality test, I’ll give this a while before I come to a full conclusion.

Anyway, give it a go here. IBM wants you to view it in Chrome or Firefox, in large screen. I used Safari, woe is me…

*Update Friday 24 July, 11am*
IBM has since reached out to us to highlight these guidelines to ensure a more accurate reading. For example, write 3,500 words, for starters. That would give Watson more of a chance then I certainly gave it.

Main image, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic