I am thoroughly impressed by how IBM’s Watson is progressing. We’ll soon see how good it is when it takes on real people in Jeopardy. For those unfamiliar with this initiative, I can only describe it as a supercomputer that has the logic reasoning that is very close to how humans think, and with super-duper memory.
Of course, it’s not perfect. In games of Jeopardy with real people, it won some, it lost some. Realistically, when are we ever in a real-life situation similar to the game show? However, if we can apply Watson in a situation where it can take its time, this would hold loads of potential.
Engadget makes a great point about how Web search has been rudimentary. Is IBM priming this piece of machinery as the next great search engine? In the past, we’ve seen engines like Ask.com with the same vision. Unfortunately, things didn’t pan out -- for a while, IAC was reportedly selling it. At Horn Group, we’ve seen the promise of natural-language processing from client OpenAmplify. If IBM were to get a URL for Watson and put a search bar on it, think of the possibilities…
- best health answer engines ever
- fastest travel price research ever
- most un-biased referee for the question: “who is the best NFL quarterback ever?”
However, this Watson search engine works only for absolutes. If it’s hooked up only to legitimate databases like encyclopedias and such, it would work fine. However, the Internet is full of rabbit holes that lead to nonsense. How is Watson supposed to know that certain pieces of information are hoaxes, or that the Internet is full of basic opinion that may or may not be built on facts.
Watson could be a search engine, but it may not be an effective “Web” search engine. Or it may not be more effective that what’s already around.
Perhaps Watson is destined to stay within the four walls or an organization for enterprise search. Only then could you guarantee that it is working off facts and not fiction, or opinion. Nevertheless, I’m still excited to see it take on humans in Jeopardy. Maybe even some day they’ll test it on the Web just for kicks.
By the way, the best NFL quarterback is Joe Montana. You don’t need a machine to figure that out.