Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Watson The Super Computer

Thoughts midweek are on IBM's super computer named Watson.
Some of you may know Watson from its Jeopardy appearance, the computer won.
It seems a researcher, for Watson, decided to feed the computer the Urban Dictionary. The Urban Dictionary has in it everything from slang, web definitions,and yes bad words and their meanings. It did not go well. Watson did not know the difference in these words and phrases from any others that could be used, basically no filter or reason not to use any of the words or slang in the dictionary. In a test paper Watson used the word "bullshit", it must be noted here the computer did use it correctly, however this was certainly not the end result the Watson's team had thought about. It took a thirty-five member team to develop a filter and, eventual, cleaning of the Urban Dictionary from his knowledge base.
So the thought today is it was not Watson's fault, it learned to swear, it took a human to make the decision to expose the computer to the bad language making me question the common sense abilities of these really smart IBM techs.