Buy ASIC Bitcoin Miner
Gadgets For Geeks
Add This Feed
Subscribe in Bloglines

Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to My AOL
Add to netvibes
Add to The Free Dictionary

Add to Excite MIX
Add to netomat Hub
Add to fwicki
Add to Webwag
Add to Plusmo
Add to Google Reader or Homepage
Categories

Author Archive

postheadericon Ken Jennings talks about losing to Watson, being human after all

In a piece for Slate titled “My Puny Human Brain,” former-Jeopardy-greatest Ken Jennings talks briefly through his experience playing against IBM’s Watson. If you were hoping for some sour grapes, you won’t find it here, but Ken gives a great insight into what it feels like to be an underdog human up against a PR darling supercomputer. “Watson has lots in common with a top-ranked human Jeopardy! player: It’s very smart, very fast, speaks in an uneven monotone, and has never known the touch of a woman.” Ken wraps it up on an uplifting, humans-are-going-to-be-alright-after-all note, and we seem to have something in our eye…

Ken Jennings talks about losing to Watson, being human after all originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 18 Feb 2011 18:48:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceSlate  | Email this | Comments

postheadericon Ken Jennings talks about losing to Watson, being human after all

In a piece for Slate titled “My Puny Human Brain,” former-Jeopardy-greatest Ken Jennings talks briefly through his experience playing against IBM’s Watson. If you were hoping for some sour grapes, you won’t find it here, but Ken gives a great insight into what it feels like to be an underdog human up against a PR darling supercomputer. “Watson has lots in common with a top-ranked human Jeopardy! player: It’s very smart, very fast, speaks in an uneven monotone, and has never known the touch of a woman.” Ken wraps it up on an uplifting, humans-are-going-to-be-alright-after-all note, and we seem to have something in our eye…

Ken Jennings talks about losing to Watson, being human after all originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 18 Feb 2011 18:48:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceSlate  | Email this | Comments

postheadericon Watson wins it all, humans still can do some other cool things

In case you missed it, Watson won again tonight. He even got the Final Jeopardy question correct this time, a multi-layered reference to Bram Stroker that he bet $10k on. His final score over the two rounds ended up at $77,147 (Watson has this thing for betting strange amounts that usually end in a 7), while Ken Jennings got $24,000 and Brad Rutter did $21,600 — both humans saving a bit of face after last round’s stunning defeat. Watson will be giving his $1,000,000 winnings to charity.

So, a few things:

  1. We’re totally surprised, in a larger theoretical sense, that a computer could win at Jeopardy.
  2. We’re totally not surprised that Watson, the system built by IBM over the past few years at the expense of millions of dollars, actually succeeded at winning at Jeopardy.
  3. Computers have better reflexes than humans, as it turns out.
  4. Deal with it.

If you can’t tell, we’re having a little trouble processing all the emotions brought on by a Jeopardy win from IBM’s Watson supercomputer. It’s obvious that IBM’s DeepQA research program has developed some of the most sophisticated natural language AI known to man. At the same time, Jeopardy questions aren’t really that hard. As evidenced by watching these Watson-dominated matches, all three contestants knew the answer most of the time, but Watson was just quicker on the draw. Of course, it’s no surprise that computers have quicker reflexes (even with the “handicap” of having to mechanically press the same style of clicker as Meatbag 001 and Meatbag 002), so why shouldn’t Watson get to use his inbuilt advantage to the utmost? It seems like a fair fight to us.

The question of “who is better at Jeopardy” aside (trust us, it’s Watson), the larger implications for the human race and our computer sidekicks are still unclear. Watson can currently answer simple trivia questions, sometimes couched in puns or minor riddles, with a decent level of accuracy. The answers themselves are no more than a high school student with Wikipedia access could pull off, and Watson has no way of knowing for sure when he’s right. He lacks a solid, computer-readable database of “facts” like a Wolfram Alpha, or the incredible reasoning abilities of a human, instead relying on statistical analysis of vast amounts of text. When it comes to Jeopardy, it turns out to be Good Enough, which is actually a pretty incredible achievement in the world of AI, and we’re sure we’ll be finding out soon what other applications IBM thinks Watson is Good Enough at — they’re thinking everything from healthcare to the financial industry. Still, we’re sure some of us clicker-speed-nit-pickers will remain unimpressed. Make sure to check out the Engadget Show tomorrow, where we’ll be chatting up the creators of Watson about all this, but for now… 01000011 01101111 01101110 01100111 01110010 01100001 01110100 01110011 00100001

Watson wins it all, humans still can do some other cool things originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 16 Feb 2011 22:22:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |   | Email this | Comments

postheadericon Apple MacBook Air survey gets chatty about 3G

Apple isn’t much of one for customer surveys, but this recent missive to select MacBook Air owners has all sorts of goodies inside it. Most notable is the large amount of questions on 3G data connectivity, a feature that Apple has so far avoided adding to any of its laptops, even though it sells a tablet computer with the functionality. Interestingly, Apple has waited so long on this feature that its primary objection — the need to pick a specific carrier over another — has disappeared thanks to Qualcomm’s Gobi chipset. On the other hand, most people get 3G data onto their laptops these days through tethering, whether it be with their phone or a dedicated MiFi-style device, and Apple’s survey seems to be designed to pick up on the prevalence of all these tendencies. Other aspects of the survey deal with data storage and syncing (MobileMe and Dropbox get shout outs), missing functionality that keeps the Air from being a primary computer, and other miscellany. If you want to get overanalytical with the whole thing, Apple might actually be trying to feel out the dividing line between an iPad and a MacBook Air, instead of the dividing line between a MacBook Pro. Perhaps this year’s expected Sandy Bridge or (we wish) Fusion refresh of the MacBook Air could have something more in store? Check out the source link for the whole thing.

Apple MacBook Air survey gets chatty about 3G originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 15 Feb 2011 12:45:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceAppleInsider  | Email this | Comments

postheadericon The iPhone nano to forgo local storage? Common sense says ‘no’

Well, MWC is in full swing, where folks like LG, Samsung, Sony, and Nokia are pouring their souls out in front of us in device form. So, naturally, the rumors are swirling about… the iPhone nano. In a followup to the Wall Street Journal‘s big story, Cult of Mac is claiming some additional inside info from a source with a “great track record.” The main idea is that the iPhone nano would rely on the cloud to such an extent that the device wouldn’t really have any local storage to speak of, outside of a streaming buffer. This would of course go hand in hand with a MobileMe / Lala-powered streaming music service, and result in significant component cost savings (flash memory is still pretty spendy). While this sounds like a beautiful dream, it doesn’t make much sense in 2011. Streaming all your music and other media over a capped 3G connection doesn’t sound very consumer-friendly, and there are still plenty of situations where having a nice offline stash of music is a lifesaver. But there’s a bigger problem: where do you put your apps without local storage? Android’s historic shortage of app storage really bit it in the ass, and we doubt Apple wants to go down that route. Sure, we can see a 4GB or so ultracheap device, with a heavy reliance on streaming media (many people get most of their music from Pandora these days, anyways), but a memory-free iPhone just doesn’t sound feasible at this point in time.

The iPhone nano to forgo local storage? Common sense says ‘no’ originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 14 Feb 2011 13:44:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceCult of Mac  | Email this | Comments