Can Artificial Intelligence Beat Jeopardy?

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Artificial Intelligence has been making leaps and bounds since its first thrashing of humanity in a chess game, but can it cope with being put on Jeopardy?

This week saw IBM unveil its Question Answering system, codenamed Watson, that it hopes can complete the greatest challenge of all, defeating humanity.

While Deep Blue resoundingly finished off the best humanity had to offer, IBM was looking for a much greater test for the second wave and so came up with the idea of “Jeopardy”.

For those not acquainted with Alex Trebek’s show, or the various SNL skits, to play you are given the answer to a question and you have to guess the question involved.

This makes a real challenge for a computer, which needs to not only needs to know history, politics, film, and pop culture, but also how to decipher grammar and construct meaningful sentences.

As if that’s not tough enough, you then have to try and teach them things like irony, riddles, double entendres, sarcasm and other features of language that often puzzle us mere mortals.

“Progress on the (project) will be important in the quest to understand and build ‘intelligent computing systems’ capable of cooperating with humans in language-related tasks previously out of reach for computers,” said Dr. David Ferrucci, leader of the IBM Watson project team.

There has been no mention of when the challenge will be set or whether it will be televised, but Alan Turing’s birthday (June 23rd) would seem to be the best idea, given he is widely seen as the father of Artificial Intelligence.

Source: Monsters and Critics

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