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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old November 18 2013, 07:36 PM   #31
DarthTom
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Re: Is Watson the most advanced super computer in existence?

Pavonis wrote: View Post
DarthTom seems to be under the impression that Watson is "superior" to Siri, though I can't fathom why.
Well for starters, I'm guessing that Siri couldn't beat a Jeporday champion.

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Old November 18 2013, 07:58 PM   #32
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Re: Is Watson the most advanced super computer in existence?

Siri could beat a Jeopardy champion, if Apple wanted to spend the time and money on the publicity stunt.

Computers are tools, not competitors. The IBM Watson competition was just to raise publicity for their research, not to produce an artificially intelligent being.
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Old November 19 2013, 12:55 AM   #33
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Re: Is Watson the most advanced super computer in existence?

DarthTom wrote: View Post
You'd think the software though wouldn't go out to the web for the time and date though - but it does.
Siri isn't processing the vocal requests locally on your device. If it can't access the "mainframe" back at Apple then it can't understand you.
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Old November 19 2013, 01:08 AM   #34
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Re: Is Watson the most advanced super computer in existence?

This thread is really kind of weird.
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Old November 19 2013, 02:29 PM   #35
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Re: Is Watson the most advanced super computer in existence?

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
This thread is really kind of weird.
Why is that? I watched a program - Alien Planet - that discusses the idea that virtually AI will one day explore nearby planets within the, 'goldi-locks zone,' of nearby star systems on its own.

After watching the show it occured to me that we have super computers - like Watson - that have almost the same capabilities as described on the show.

I was curious if Watson and other computers today reach the level of 'intelligence,' necessary today to perform such tasks.

Robert Maxwell said that many of the tasks as described on the show are possible.

Tangentile to the discussion was how 'powerful,' Watson is relative to other supercomputers.

Is this forum not where science and technology is discussed? Do you have anything to contribute to the conversation?
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Old November 19 2013, 03:10 PM   #36
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Re: Is Watson the most advanced super computer in existence?

DarthTom, you don't need to mini-mod here.

iguana is probably a bit put off by, to put it nicely, how not very knowledgeable you are about computers and computing technology. You seem easily impressed. Not that it's not impressive, but there seems to be a common tendency to view technology you don't understand as almost magical in nature. You seem very impressed, for instance, by Watson, going so far as to (initially) think it's the most advanced computer in existence. I assume you came to this conclusion due to its ability to beat other Jeopardy contestants, but those who likened it to Deep Blue have it right. Like Deep Blue, there is nothing magical about Watson, it is just a very powerful, highly specialized computer designed to solve one particular task very efficiently. Its existence is more evolutionary than revolutionary. It's not some kind of turning point in AI. It's a notable achievement, but I'm just saying not to make more of it than it is.

We could send automated probes to other solar systems if we wanted to and were willing to spend the money. The reason we don't is that it would take so long and the benefits, if any, would come several generations down the line. That makes it politically uninteresting, since no one in office (or even alive) today would be able to take credit for it. There's also no good economic incentive.

At this point, as our telescopes get better and better, we'll learn a lot more about extrasolar planets that way, and if we find a really, really promising one, maybe we'll send some probes, but I don't think you appreciate just how long-term a project that is. To put it in perspective, the fastest ships we've built to date--Helios-A and Helios-B--have had a maximum velocity of a bit over 150,000 miles per hour. Light travels at almost 670 million miles per hour. That means the fastest ship we've ever made has gone 0.02% the speed of light. It would take almost 43 years for such a ship to travel one light year. That's over 180 years just to the nearest star.

To see results in any reasonable amount of time, you'd need ships at least 10 times faster, and you'd need to be sure they could survive such high velocities. The computer systems are really the least of our worries with something like that. Maintaining power and velocity through the interstellar medium would be of much greater concern.

Basically: computing power is not what is holding us back from exploring space, and it never really has been. Systems like Watson and Siri are impressive but represent iterative improvements and integration of technologies and concepts that have been around for decades. There is no magic here, just a bunch of real-world reasons why we have achieved some things and not others.
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Old November 19 2013, 03:29 PM   #37
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Re: Is Watson the most advanced super computer in existence?

The other thing is that Watson runs on 750 servers with 4 cores each. I don't know if you could even supply the amount of power needed for a long term mission.
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Old November 19 2013, 03:39 PM   #38
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Re: Is Watson the most advanced super computer in existence?

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
DarthTom, you don't need to mini-mod here.
10-4

iguana
is probably a bit put off by, to put it nicely, how not very knowledgeable you are about computers and computing technology. You seem easily impressed. Not that it's not impressive, but there seems to be a common tendency to view technology you don't understand as almost magical in nature. You seem very impressed, for instance, by Watson, going so far as to (initially) think it's the most advanced computer in existence. I assume you came to this conclusion due to its ability to beat other Jeopardy contestants, but those who likened it to Deep Blue have it right. Like Deep Blue, there is nothing magical about Watson, it is just a very powerful, highly specialized computer designed to solve one particular task very efficiently. Its existence is more evolutionary than revolutionary. It's not some kind of turning point in AI. It's a notable achievement, but I'm just saying not to make more of it than it is.
I don't possess a degree in computer science and my, 'exposure,' to the technology is limited to using Siri, MS Office for business and work an like most people use computers as tools for work.

So yes - sorry - super computing is exciting to me and I don't understand what happens under the proverbial hood of the car so I ask questions.



Basically: computing power is not what is holding us back from exploring space, and it never really has been. Systems like Watson and Siri are impressive but represent iterative improvements and integration of technologies and concepts that have been around for decades. There is no magic here, just a bunch of real-world reasons why we have achieved some things and not others.
Any computer that can beat a human being at Jeporday - IMO - is an amazing feat considering that 99% of the human population could not beat the flesh and blood winners either.

edited to add: then again I think it was impressive, funny, and sad when I asked Siri Sunday afternoon the Falcons score she said, "The Falcons got 'crushed,' by Tampa Bay...." - obviously someone in Curpertino feeling th need to add that editorial to the socre. LOL

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Old November 19 2013, 03:42 PM   #39
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Re: Is Watson the most advanced super computer in existence?

But Jeopardy is not about intelligence, it's about having vast amounts of trivia knowledge. Pretty much anyone can accumulate that with some time and effort. It's not a question of intellectual ability.
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Old November 19 2013, 03:43 PM   #40
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Re: Is Watson the most advanced super computer in existence?

DarthTom wrote: View Post
Any computer that can beat a human being at Jeporday - IMO - is an amazing feat considering that 99% of the human population could not beat the flesh and blood winners either.
The thing about that is... the Jeopardy task is simply suitable for machines. Just like calculations. Computers beat humans since decades in that area. Because the human brain just isn't designed for that.

On the other hand, it will take a very, very long time until, for example, a computer beats a human in visual recognition. Because that's what the human brain can do with perfection.
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Old November 19 2013, 03:44 PM   #41
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Re: Is Watson the most advanced super computer in existence?

99% of the human population can't sort 10,000 files into alphabetical order in less than a second either, at least by hand.

Computers can. That doesn't mean they're intelligent, it just means someone figured out a fast algorithm to accomplish that task.

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
On the other hand, it will take a very, very long time until, for example, a computer beats a human in visual recognition. Because that's what the human brain can do with perfection.
Even that will come in a matter of years, decades at most. Visual recognition is a solvable problem with enough math and computing power.

Machine self-awareness is an entirely different category. It's not clear whether that will ever be possible at this point.
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Old November 19 2013, 03:49 PM   #42
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Re: Is Watson the most advanced super computer in existence?

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
But Jeopardy is not about intelligence, it's about having vast amounts of trivia knowledge. Pretty much anyone can accumulate that with some time and effort. It's not a question of intellectual ability.
I don't want to sound like I'm undermining your point here, because I generally agree with it. However, there is an application of problem solving in interpreting the questions (I mean answers) posed by Alex, in order to come up with the correct response. The "answers" Alex gives often involve some kind of pun, or other word play or loose association. Interpreting the word play correctly can often point the way to making an educated guess, when you don't know the correct response (something that Watson seemed to fail miserably at). In that way, at least, playing Jeopardy well does involve some application of intelligence.
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Old November 19 2013, 04:01 PM   #43
JarodRussell
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Re: Is Watson the most advanced super computer in existence?

Lindley wrote: View Post
99% of the human population can't sort 10,000 files into alphabetical order in less than a second either, at least by hand.

Computers can. That doesn't mean they're intelligent, it just means someone figured out a fast algorithm to accomplish that task.

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
On the other hand, it will take a very, very long time until, for example, a computer beats a human in visual recognition. Because that's what the human brain can do with perfection.
Even that will come in a matter of years, decades at most. Visual recognition is a solvable problem with enough math and computing power.

Machine self-awareness is an entirely different category. It's not clear whether that will ever be possible at this point.
It's not impossible, sure. But a computer the size of a human head being able to do visual recognition tasks as good as the average human, that's a long time away. While the tiniest pocket calculator can perform calculations can outperform any human.

As said above, Watson might be a cool thing, but it also takes 750 servers. A huge space is currently needed for that. Of course this will change, no doubt about that.
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Old November 19 2013, 04:02 PM   #44
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Re: Is Watson the most advanced super computer in existence?

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
On the other hand, it will take a very, very long time until, for example, a computer beats a human in visual recognition. Because that's what the human brain can do with perfection.
I thought the NSA has made great strides in facial recognition software that can scan crowds for terror suspects which also concerns privacy rights advocates?

Facial Recognition software NSA is working on
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Old November 19 2013, 04:06 PM   #45
JarodRussell
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Re: Is Watson the most advanced super computer in existence?

DarthTom wrote: View Post
JarodRussell wrote: View Post
On the other hand, it will take a very, very long time until, for example, a computer beats a human in visual recognition. Because that's what the human brain can do with perfection.
I thought the NSA has made great strides in facial recognition software that can scan crowds for terror suspects which also concerns privacy rights advocates?

Facial Recognition software NSA is working on
Yeah, but a human can still absolutely outperform this. If you know the target, you can pick it out of a crowd with ease. And can do so much more than just recognize faces at the same time.

The current advantage here is automization. You don't need humans who get tired watching computer monitors.
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