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

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.

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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.

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.)

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"Uncategorised" was going a little too far.

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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.

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.

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.

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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.

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

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This is actually quite exciting.

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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

Get lost spammer.

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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.

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

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.

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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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