IBM’s Watson will be made available in a more powerful form on the internet

by on November 14, 2013 at 7:17 am in Books, Current Affairs, Data Source, Economics, Education, Film, Food and Drink, Games, History, Law, Medicine, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, Science, Sports, The Arts, Uncategorized, Web/Tech | Permalink

Companies, academics and individual software developers will be able to use it at a small fraction of the previous cost, drawing on IBM’s specialists in fields like computational linguistics to build machines that can interpret complex data and better interact with humans.

That is a big deal, obviously.  The story is here.

Rahul November 14, 2013 at 7:47 am

The article makes it sound they are offering raw CPU hours like a conventional super-computing cluster. Is that what this is? If so, it might actually be an interesting signal.

john personna November 14, 2013 at 10:40 am

Super-computing is quite cheap. NVIDIA® Tesla® GPU Accelerators are available at a price similar to early PCs. The really amazing thing, IMO, is the LACK of applications for them.

A supercomputer is cheaper than your car, but you still don’t want one.

(If Watson were a genuine AI Oracle, with a 1-800 number, I might call and ask a few questions, but we are not there.)

Millian November 14, 2013 at 9:10 am

“Uncategorised” was going a little too far.

Ray Lopez November 14, 2013 at 9:27 am

Ho-hum, boring. Once again the chess world anticipated this move a few years ago. The latest version of Fritz 13, the chess playing software, allows you to “use the cloud” to analyze a move. chances are somebody else has either analyzed this position (if an opening), or you can rent computer time from the cloud to solve a computer position (usually the time is donated for free, but you can also pay the owner of the computer that provides their PC to the cloud). Chess is life.

julio November 14, 2013 at 2:53 pm

You, and the article, focus on the “computing in the cloud” aspect, which is indeed not news. Watson is new technology, which is now being made available; that IS news.

john personna November 14, 2013 at 5:50 pm

As I understand the “Watson” family of technologies, they need a lot of intensive development on any target domain. Am I right? If so, “Watson” will slowly expand domains, making incremental impacts in each.

Ray Lopez November 15, 2013 at 1:52 am

As john personna has schooled you, Watson is nothing more than IF/THEN rules in a conventional relational database, powered by IBM hardware. Nothing revolutionary there, unless you consider what Dr. Cobb did 40 years ago as revolutionary. The new part is indeed cloud computing.

Blunt Instrument November 14, 2013 at 10:14 am

The first software developer to sign up is a former manufacturer named Cyberdyne Systems. Someone alert John Conner.

Ignacio November 14, 2013 at 10:19 am

This is actually quite exciting.

D November 14, 2013 at 11:34 am

Speaking of Watson, another academic just got Watson’d for being a little too honest.

http://drjamesthompson.blogspot.com/2013/11/helmuth-nyborg-gets-watsond.html

AyeJay November 14, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Get lost spammer.

Bill November 14, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I think one of the future uses of Watson will be in giving the answer to a family, with a parent or loved one in the hospital, to the following question:

“Watson, what are the chances, given my loved one’s history and condition, of survival and for how long or will it be futile care?”

I’d rather hear from Watson than a person who stands to gain from giving futile care.

John Mansfield November 14, 2013 at 5:10 pm

This calls for an anti-Turing test. How would we know that this dispassionate analyzing machine isn’t a person or team faking it?

john personna November 14, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Ask it about tropical fish?

The Watson technology is a wonderful development, but it is not general. It is more magic-trick than real flying-on-a-broom.

Stephen November 14, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Presumably it could easily learn economics and combine those rules with a comprehensive assessment of data – including the price of eggs.

Where is Ned Ludd when you need him?

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