By David Rowe on
2/17/2011 3:57 PM
Computers may triumph playing Jeopardy, but that represents mastery of only one dimension of what we call human intelligence.
An IBM computer named Watson recently captured the imagination of America by defeating the two most successful players in the game show Jeopardy. This is a more impressive accomplishment than when Big Blue, another IBM computer, defeated Gary Kasparov in a chess match. Jeopardy is played with an open ended set of categories and often involves obscure word games. To be even credible as a contestant the computer had to process spoken language, recognizing syntax and subtle nuances of meaning. For a computer, just understanding the questions is a mammoth challenge. What IBM has accomplished in building such a machine is a remarkable advance in natural language processing.
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