Monday, November 14, 2011

mini-road trip: IBM's scary-smart Watson prez this TH

I have to say I was rooting for the humans last Feb when they went up against IBM"s Watson on the Jeopardy! show (just like I rooted unsuccessfully for Kaparov against Deep Blue, Watson's chess-playing predecessor). Even though I'm into technology, I kind of hate to see "the rise of the machines" over people, maybe due to growing up watching The Twilight Zone and The Terminator. But still I have to hand it to those guys at IBM - Deep Blue was a watershed moment of its own but the Watson victory really seems like a defining moment in history. What they got it to do was pretty jaw-dropping. I mean, I remembered seeing those guys who played against Watson back when they were on the show playing humans and they were awesome killer-champs that on one else could touch. But Watson blew them away like they were clueless. Stunning.

I've had a couple of chances to hear from the Watson team about how they put it together and made it work (and how the Watson technology is being applied to other "big data" problems the world needs solved) and it's all fascinating, so I highly recommend any chance you get to do the same. The Computer History Museum in Mountain View which in and of itself is a must-visit for everyone, seriously, is hosting a program on Watson tomorrow night but it now says it's fully booked & there's a waiting list. But it turns out there is another opp to see them up at the Berkeley campus this Thursday. Details below.

Then, after the show, stop by The Cheeseboard on Shattuck Ave to get a hot slice of the pizza of the day. I used to live there and I tell you it's fabulous stuff. Ack! Now I'm dying for a slice myself. Dang.

Smarter Planet & IBM Watson Jeopardy! Presentation 
Bernie Meyerson, IBM VP of Innovation & University Programs 
LOCATION:  Banatao Auditorium, 5rd floor, Sutardja Dai Hall,
UC Berkeley
Date: Thursday November 17, 2011 
Time: 10:00 – 11:00 am

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