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Final Jeopardy : Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything by Stephen Baker
May 19 2011 7:00 pm
May 19 2011 8:00 pm
FINAL JEOPARDY: Man vs Machine and the Quest to Know Everything is the thrilling story of the Jeopardy-playing computer, Watson. Author Stephen Baker had exclusive behind-the-scenes access with IBM from the start of the project. The book traces the arc of Watson’s “life,” from its birth in the IBM labs to its big night on the podium. We meet Hollywood moguls and Jeopardy masters, genius computer programmers and ambitious scientists, including Watson’s eccentric creator, David Ferrucci. We gain access to Ferrucci’s War Room, where the IBM team works tirelessly to boost Watson’s speed to the buzzer, improve its performance in “train wreck” categories (such as “Books in Espanõl) and fix glitches like the speech defect Watson developed during its testing phase, when it started adding a “d” to words ending in “n” (“What is Pakistand?)
At its heart, FINAL JEOPARDY is about the future of knowledge. What can we teach machines? What will Watson's heirs be capable of in ten or twenty years? And where does that leave humans? Baker goes beyond the headlines to bring you insight that IBM and Sony don’t want you to know. Says Baker, “Yes, Watson is deaf and blind, can't recognize jokes and ‘thinks’ Toronto is a US city. But people shouldn't draw from this a false sense of security. The IBM machine is following a spectacular learning curve. Within a year or two, machines like Watson will be much smarter, faster, more clever with words, and will be crashing into the workplace.”
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