IBM’s Celebrity Robot Is Unstoppable at Jeopardy!
Artificial intelligence trounced its human equivalent on Jeopardy! this week, with the debut of IBM’s Watson computer on America’s favorite trivia show. Perhaps most humanizing of all was Watson’s capacity for error: his occasional flubs have rapidly become YouTube sensations. But by the end of three nights against Jeopardy! champions Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings, the computer had earned more than $77,000; it has also given 2001: A Space Odyssey enthusiasts reason to believe that HAL-esque sentient computers are about to become a reality.
In an investor briefing from 2009, IBM outlines what it calls “The Watson System: Deep Analysis of Questions and Content.” The filing includes a list of potential business applications, from self-help in health care to running credit checks to planning out transportation routes. At its most recent reporting, IBM’s last quarterly revenue in the Americas was over $12 billion; this does not include the $1 million champion prize Watson won for his company, which IBM says it will donate to charity.