Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘new intelligence’ Category

Thinking Big @ Information On Demand 2012

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Nate Silver, author of the blog “FiveThirtyEight,” will be one of the featured keynote speakers at this year’s IBM Information On Demand 2012 event in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 21-25. Silver correctly predicted the results of the primaries and the U.S. presidential winner in 2008 in 49 states through his statistical analysis of polling data, and at IOD will explain how to distinguish real signals from noisy data as well as how predictive analytics is used in politics.

That annual festouche and gathering of all things data is just around the corner.

Yes, that’s right, it’s almost time for IBM Information on Demand 2012.

So in order to start the drumbeat, I wanted to take a few moments and point you to some useful resources as you prepare to make your way to the Bay of Mandalay, and to optimize your time on the ground in Vegas.

First, the new (and official) IBM Information on Demand blog, which you can find here.

The blog includes easy access to some of the social media channels that will be covering the event (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube).

Of course, never forget the official IOD hashtag, #ibmiod, where you’ll be able to follow the endless stream of tidings leading up to, during, and after the event.

The blog also has links off to the IOD 2012 registration engine, as well as to the IOD SmartSite so you can start thinking about your IOD calendar now (I do NOT advise waiting until the last minute…talk about information overload!)

We’ve got some exciting guest speakers this year, including Nate Silver, statistics blogging extraordinaire who first found fame with his “FiveThirtyEight” blog, which is now part of The New York Times family of media properties.

Silver analyzes politics the way most of us should be analyzing our business: Through data…and lots of it.

His analysis of political polling data is unparalleled, and in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Silver correctly predicted the results of the primaries and the presidential winner in 49 states.

His recent book, “The Signal and The Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t,” explores the world of prediction, “investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data.” Silver tackles some of the big questions about big data, so we’re very excited to have him join us in Vegas for IBM’s own big data marathon event.

At this year’s event, we’ll continue our trend of including tracks for specialized areas of interest, including forums for Information Management, Business Analytics, Business Leadership, and Enterprise Content Management.

And, of course, you’ll be able to find Scott Laningham and myself down in the EXPO center, where we’ll be talking to and interviewing many of the IBM and industry luminaries on the important data-related topics being discussed at the event.

Speaking of data, this will be my seventh IOD in a row, so I’m looking forward to seeing many of you once again.

Meanwhile, keep an eye here on the Turbo blog for future IOD-relevant posts.

IBM’s 2011 “Five in Five”: Innovations That Could Change The World (And A Little Monty Python Thrown In For Good Measure)

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The IBM "5 in 5" is based on market and societal trends as well as emerging technologies from IBM’s research labs around the world that can make these transformations possible.

Before I get to the business news of the day, let me send a hearty congratulations to U.K. golfer Ian Poulter, who won the Australian Masters yesterday and outgunned Aussie’s own Geoff Ogilvy, who was attempting to take the tourney on his boyhood course.

Poulter was two strokes behind Ogilvy heading into the final round and closed with a 4-under 67 on a very windy Victoria Golf Club.

Nice win, Poulter.  Poulter should have plenty of Aussie dollars to head out for a little X-mas shopping, and perhaps he’d like to invite English striker Darren Bent to join him for a little shopping.

Bent was busted on the sidelines of Sunday’s game against Liverpool for doing a little online shopping (his team was losing), even though he was out for the day due to injury.  Otherwise, Bent is Villa’s leading scorer, to which I say, “A goal a day helps keep the Xmas cash register away!

But enough of sport.  It’s time to get serious.  And IBM’s latest “IBM 5 in 5,” a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and interact during the next five years, has arrived just in time for the holidays.

We’ll take them one at a time.

Watch the 5-minute video above for a quick fly-by of IBM’s 2011 “5 in 5” innovations.

1. People power will come to life.  

No, we don’t mean protests in the streets of Egypt or Libya, although that is certainly a worthwhile sort of people power.  We’re talking about real people power, anything that moves or produces heat and which has the potential to create energy that can be captured.

Walking. Jogging. Bicycling. The heat from your computer. Even the water flowing through your pipes.

Advances in renewable energy technology will allow individuals to collect this kinetic energy, which now goes to waste, and use it to help power our homes, offices and cities.

Imagine attaching small devices to the spokes on your bicycle wheels that recharge batteries as you pedal along.

You will have the satisfaction of not only getting to where you want to go, but at the same time powering some of the lights in your home.

Created energy comes in all shapes and forms and from anything around us. IBM scientists inIreland are looking at ways to understand and minimize the environmental impact of converting ocean wave energy into electricity.

2. You will never need a password again.

I’m paying special and close attention to this one.  I have so many IDs and passwords I don’t know when I’m coming or going, and my new favorite pastime is emailing web sites to request they send me an email reminder or password reset.

In this “5,” your biological makeup is the key to your individual identity, and soon, it will become the key to safeguarding it.

So to speak.  No, you will no longer need to create, track or remember multiple passwords for various log-ins.

Imagine you will be able to walk up to an ATM machine to securely withdraw money by simply speaking your name or looking into a tiny sensor that can recognize the unique patterns in the retina of your eye.

Or by doing the same, you can check your account balance on your mobile phone or tablet.

Each person has a unique biological identity and behind all that is data. Biometric data — facial definitions, retinal scans and voice files — will be composited through software to build your DNA unique online password.

Referred to as multi-factor biometrics, smarter systems will be able to use this information in real-time to make sure whenever someone is attempting to access your information, it matches your unique biometric profile and the attempt is authorized.

To be trusted, such systems should enable you to opt in or out of whatever information you choose to provide.

3. Mind reading is longer science fiction.

Hey, get out of my head!  I see what you’re trying to do!  It won’t work…well, maybe…it…won’t.

But maybe it will!

From Houdini to Skywalker to X-Men, mind reading has merely been “wishful thinking” for science fiction fans for decades, but their wish may soon come true.

IBM scientists are among those researching how to link your brain to your devices, such as a computer or a smartphone. If you just need to think about calling someone, it happens.

Or you can control the cursor on a computer screen just by thinking about where you want to move it.

Scientists in the field of bioinformatics have designed headsets with advanced sensors to read electrical brain activity that can recognize facial expressions, excitement and concentration levels, and thoughts of a person without them physically taking any actions.

Within 5 years, we will begin to see early applications of this technology in the gaming and entertainment industry.

Furthermore, doctors could use the technology to test brain patterns, possibly even assist in rehabilitation from strokes and to help in understanding brain disorders, such as autism. .

4. The digital divide will cease to exist.

You’ve heard of the digital divide?  Well, get ready to see that divide get split in half…or even divided into infinity.

In our global society, growth and wealth of economies are increasingly decided by the level of access to information.

And in five years, the gap between information haves and have-nots will narrow considerably due to advances in mobile technology.

There are 7 billion people inhabiting the world today. In five years there will be 5.6 billion mobile devices sold – which means 80% of the current global population would each have a mobile device.

As it becomes cheaper to own a mobile phone, people without a lot of spending power will be able to do much more than they can today.

For example, in India, using speech technology and mobile devices, IBM enabled rural villagers who were illiterate to pass along information through recorded messages on their phones.

With access to information that was not there before, villagers could check weather reports for help them decide when to fertilize crops, know when doctors were coming into town, and find the best prices for their crops or merchandise.

Growing communities will be able to use mobile technology to provide access to essential information and better serve people with new solutions and business models such as mobile commerce and remote healthcare.

5. Junk mail will become priority mail.

Do you remember the original spam, the one that led to the Internet terminology?  It was a reference to a 1970s Monty Python sketch set in a case where nearly every item on the menu included Spam canned luncheon meet.

As the waiter recited the Spam-filled menu, a chorus of Viking patrons downs out all conversations iwth a song repeating “Spam…Spam….Spam…”  You get the picture?

Now, think about how often we’re flooded with advertisements we consider to be irrelevant or unwanted. It may not be that way for long.

In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem spam is dead. At the same time, spam filters will be so precise you’ll never be bothered by unwanted sales pitches again.

Imagine if tickets to your favorite band are put on hold for you the moment they became available, and for the one night of the week that is free on your calendar.

Through alerts direct to you, you’ll be able to purchase tickets instantly from your mobile device. Or imagine being notified that a snow storm is about to affect your travel plans and you might want to re-route your flight?

IBM is developing technology that uses real-time analytics to make sense and integrate data from across all the facets of your life such as your social networks and online preferences to present and recommend information that is only useful to you.

From news, to sports, to politics, you’ll trust the technology will know what you want, so you can decide what to do with it.

Written by turbotodd

December 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm

We Be Jammin’ @ The W3C Social Business Jam

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Have you been wanting to get your two cents in on the broad topics that impact and influence the growth and uptake of social business?

Yes?

Well, you now have your opportunity.  IBM has partnered with the World Wide Web Consortium, the international body where member organizations and the public work together to develop Web standards, to host an online conversation among leaders in business, government, and technology about the current state of social business.

The W3C Social Business Jam will explore the future role that social technologies can play in improving the bottom line, and also how social technology should evolve in order to support business objectives.

A primary objective of the jam will be to cooperatively explore key trends and concepts in social business with an eye towards how social standards can facilitate business goals.

There are six core topics being explored in the jam, including the following:

  • Identity Management for Social
  • Mobile and Social
  • Information Management
  • Business Process Meets Social
  • Seamless Integration of Social
  • Metrics for Social Business

The jam will also feature a number of key thought leaders who will be hosting and participating in the online discussions, including Tim Berners-Lee, the W3C director and inventor of the World Wide Web, Yochai Benkler, Harvard Law Professor and author of The Wealth of Networks, Doc Searls, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, and numerous others.

The discussions are already underway and will go on around the clock until 8 PM U.S. Eastern time on Thursday, November 10th.

Go here to get started and make your contributions to this important discussion.

Written by turbotodd

November 8, 2011 at 11:02 pm

World Series Of Analytics: Josh Hamilton, Twitter MVP

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I’m still trying to get over the fact that my Texas Rangers lost the World Series two in a row.

But that didn’t stop the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton from earning the social media MVP award, based on positive-to-negative sentiment from fans in the USC Annenberg Social Sentiment Index that I mentioned in a couple of recent posts.

Texas Ranger Josh Hamilton just edged out St. Louis Cardinal David Freese for the "Twitter MVP" in the USC Annenberg Social Sentiment Index for this year's MLB World Series.

The final analysis from the 2011 World Series between the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals revealed that Hamilton took home the MVP, but just edged out the Cardinals’ David Freese by 1 percent.

Thank Heavens for small favors.  Freese was the Rangers’ clutch hitting nemesis during those last two games.

The USC Annenberg Social Sentiment Index is an ongoing project between IBM and the Annenberg Innovation Lab (AIL) students to explore Twitterology trends, the moods associated with social media communication.

Students are using IBM Social Analytics technology to analyze millions of tweets in order to assess public social media engagement and opinion from sports and film to retail and fashion.

Each game in the World Series averaged a million tweets, totaling seven million total tweets for the entire series as diehard fans exuded their social media voice and opinions on the players and coaches they followed.

IBM and AIL analyzed each game, identifying the players and coaches with the highest tweet volume and most positive sentiment, then generated a final analysis for the series.

While it’s obvious that Freese and Hamilton both had stand out performances, other noteworthy findings were revealed through the sentiment analysis, such as:

  • Texas manager Ron Washington generated five times more tweets than his counterpart, St. Louis Cardinals’ managerial veteran Tony La Russa.
  • Freese earned an 85% ‘T’ score – the ratio of positive to negative tweets; Albert Pujols earned an 82% positive sentiment rating. Texas’ Derek Holland pushed ahead of St. Louis’ Chris Carpenter.
  • Holland garnered the most tweets for any pitcher during the series, and a respectable 82% sentiment score.  While Carpenter, clearly a star and critical to the Game 7 victor, earned a 75% rating.
  • Clutch player Lance Berkman from the St. Louis Cardinals earned an 81% sentiment score, putting him in close contention for social media MVP.
  • Fans appreciated the game’s specialists, such as Arthur Rhodes from St. Louis, who appeared in three World Series games.  He got one batter out in each game that he faced, helping him earn a fan high of 94% in Game 7.

More social sentiment as discovered in the USC Annenberg World Series Social Sentiment index using IBM business analytics technology.

The analysis found the volume of tweets associated with players and coaches had a strong correlation to the amount of television face time each received during the games – regardless of the caliber of player or coaching performance.

What mattered was personality and fans’ affinity for it defined the social sentiment.  With each additional game, fans couldn’t wait to turn on the TV and their Twitter accounts, generating a higher TV audience and higher volumes of tweets, igniting the power of fans’ banter, usually limited between themselves and their televisions and inserting it into a measurable voice in the Twitterverse.

“This analysis underscores why the social media element in sports — and in any industry — should not be discounted as an unimportant source to glean actionable insights,” said Professor Jonathan Taplin, Director of USC Annenberg Innovation Lab.

“Relying solely on traditional channels to measure fan and customer engagement just won’t cut it anymore.”

IBM and AIL are collaborating to help students explore how analytics technologies can be used by organizations from news outlets and journalists to movie studios and film marketers in order to understand information buried inside Big Data – structured and unstructured information.

To date, the Index has been applied to film forecasting in order to accurately predict movie blockbuster success rates, and most recently was used by students to identify top trends for retailers from the New York Fashion Week shows.

With this project, social analytics is proving you can find out how a fan is feeling directly from the fan’s mouth, or in this case, Twitter handle, versus relying on what traditional media is telling us the fans are feeling.

The same principle applies in the business world too, social analytics is changing in the way research is conducted as the rise of social media has participants discussing openly what they like and dislike, what their plans are, and so on. For marketers, business analytics may take the place of traditional market research in the future as a growing number of companies start to use the technology to track market sentiment.

In fact, according to IBM’s 2011 Global CMO Study  of more than 1,700 chief marketing officers, the majority of the world’s top marketing executives admit they are not sufficiently plugged into real-time conversations about their brands.

Eighty-percent or more of the CMOs surveyed still focus primarily on traditional sources of information such as market research and competitive benchmarking.  Many identified their key challenge as the difficulty in analyzing vast quantities of data to extract meaningful insights that can improve products, services and the customer experience.

However, eighty-two percent of CMOs say they plan to increase their use of social media over the next three to five years.

“While in this case, its fan sentiment, the opportunity to get closer to your customer through social analytics is an opportunity organizations across the industry spectrum can’t afford to miss,” said Rod Smith, Vice President of Emerging Technology, IBM.  “Harnessing Big Data for insights is the key to having a competitive advantage.”

IBM’s collaboration with the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab is part of its continued efforts to advance student skills in analytics across academia. IBM is working with more than 6,000 universities around the world to develop curricula and provide training, resources and support for business analytics.

You can learn more about IBM business analytics capabilities here.

Big Golf, Big Data

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How did it get to be Monday so quickly?

Well, it’s here now, and I guess we just have to deal with it.

A quick congrats to David Toms for winning the Crowne Plaza Colonial PGA tourney in Ft. Worth, Texas, over Rapture weekend.  The end of the world may not have appeared, but boy did Toms’ putter show up.

For diehard golf fans, the Colonial is a special golf tournament, celebrating the life and career of one of the greatest golfers ever, Ben Hogan, who was born in nearby Stephenville and who won the Colonial five times (the last time in 1959).  Hogan died in Ft. Worth back in 1997.

Toms, who lost The Players Championship in a playoff last week, came back this week in Ft. Worth swinging (literally!) to beat Charlie Wi and a diverse field to get his name etched on the Colonial Wall of Champions.

I, for one, am glad Toms came back to win, as I was not really eager to see the world end suddenly, particularly during the weekend of such a classic golf tournament.

But the world can end in different ways, particularly with all that voluminous data floating around out there that’s so difficult to keep track of.

On Friday, IBM unveiled some new software and services to help clients with their “big data” needs.

Why this now?  Consider the fact that 83 percent of 3,000 CIOs surveyed in IBM’s 2011 Global CIO Study said that applying analytics and business intelligence to their IT operations is the most important element of their strategic growth plans over the next three to five years.

Specifically, IBM announced new, patented software capabilities to analyze massive volumes of streaming data with sub-millisecond response times and Hadoop-based analytics software to offer scalable storage to handle tens-of-petabytes level data.

IBM also announced 20 new services offerings, featuring patented analytical tools for business and IT pros to infuse predictive analytics throughout their IT operations.

You can read more about this announcement here.

And go here to get the bigger view on bigger data.

I don’t know how much more effective these new tools will be in predicting the next ending of the world, but I’m pretty confident they can help companies make more sense out of all those endless information streams overwhelming them.

Written by turbotodd

May 23, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Natural Language Processing For $500, Alex

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I recently provided a personal remembrance of the Kasparov v. Deep Blue chess matches of the late 1990s, the IBM “John Henry” contest between a Russian chess grandmaster and an IBM supercomputer.

At the end of the post, per the custom of American TV game show Jeopardy!,”I posed the answer with a question: “What is Watson?”

Here’s your expanded answer: Watson is a new supercomputer, named after founder Thomas J. Watson, and programmed once again by a set of IBM Researchers, this time to compete on the longstanding game show Jeopardy! against the show’s two most successful and celebrated contestants — Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

The first-ever man vs. machine Jeopardy! competition will air on February 14, 15 and 16, 2011, with two matches being played over three consecutive days.

Watson was built by a team of IBM scientists who set out to accomplish a grand challenge –- build a computing system that rivals a human’s ability to answer questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence.

The Jeopardy! format provides the ultimate challenge because the game’s clues involve analyzing subtle meaning, irony, riddles, and other complexities in which humans excel and computers traditionally do not.

Competing against Watson will be two of the most celebrated players ever to appear on Jeopardy! Ken Jennings broke the Jeopardy! record for the most consecutive games played by winning 74 games in a row during the 2004-2005 season, resulting in winnings of more than $2.5 million.

World-class Jeopardy! players Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter will test the mettle of IBM's Watson supercomputer in February 2011.

Brad Rutter won the highest cumulative amount ever by a single Jeopardy! player, earning $3,255,102. The total amount is a combination of Rutter’s original appearance in 2002, plus three Tournament wins:  the “Tournament of Champions” and the “Million Dollar Masters Tournament” in 2002 and the “Ultimate Tournament of Champions” in 2005.

Artificial Intelligence That Could Save Humanity For $300

The grand prize for this competition will be $1 million with second place earning $300,000 and third place $200,000. Rutter and Jennings will donate 50 percent of their winnings to charity and IBM will donate 100 percent of its winnings to charity.

“After four years, our scientific team believes that Watson is ready for this challenge based on its ability to rapidly comprehend what the Jeopardy! clue is asking, analyze the information it has access to, come up with precise answers, and develop an accurate confidence in its response,” said Dr. David Ferrucci, the scientist leading the IBM Research team that has created Watson.

Dr. David Dr. David Ferucci is the principal investigator and team lead for the DeepQA/Watson system that will be challenging the world-class Jeopardy! champions.

Beyond our excitement for the match itself, our team is very motivated by the possibilities that Watson’s breakthrough computing capabilities hold for building a smarter planet and helping people in their business tasks and personal lives.”

“We’re thrilled that Jeopardy! is considered a benchmark of ultimate knowledge,” said Harry Friedman, Executive Producer of Jeopardy!. “Performing well on Jeopardy! requires a combination of skills, and it will be fascinating to see whether a computer can compete against arguably the two best Jeopardy! players ever.”

Watson: Spars In More Than 50 Games To Prep For The Best

This past fall, Watson played more than 50 “sparring games” against former Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions contestants in final preparation for its television debut.

In addition, Watson has taken and passed the same Jeopardy! contestant test that humans take to qualify to play on the show, giving Jeopardy! producers confidence that the match will be both entertaining and competitive.

You can see highlights of those sparring matches here.

Real World Applications for Watson’s Technology

One of the criticisms that emanated during and after the Deep Blue chess matches was that IBM didn’t demonstrate the real-world applicability of the technology behind the chess moves.

This time around, IBM is working to answer more of those kinds of questions up front.

To be sure, beyond Jeopardy!, the technology behind Watson can be adapted to solve problems and drive progress in various fields (I’m already trying to understand how we could leverage it on our Web site!)

The Watson computer has the ability to sift through vast amounts of data and return precise answers, ranking its confidence in its answers. Such technology could be applied to a whole range of industries: healthcare, to more accurately diagnose patients based on empirical data; tech, to improve online health desks; tourism, to help provide tourists with information about cities; customer service, to improve prompting and directing customer support inquiries via phone and web…the list goes on.

Yes, But What Is Watson?

Watson is a breakthrough human achievement in the scientific field of Question and Answering, also known as “QA.” The Watson software is powered by an IBM POWER7 server optimized to handle the massive number of tasks that Watson must perform at rapid speeds to analyze complex language and deliver correct responses to Jeopardy! clues.

The system incorporates a number of proprietary technologies for the specialized demands of processing an enormous number of concurrent tasks and data while analyzing information in real time.

About Jeopardy!

Jeopardy!, the winner of 28 Emmy awards since its syndicated debut in 1984, is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most awards won by a TV Game Show. The series is the #1-rated quiz show in syndication with nearly 9 million daily viewers. Jeopardy! is produced by Sony Pictures Television, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company. It is distributed domestically by CBS Television Distribution and internationally by CBS Television International, both units of CBS Corp.

For more information about Jeopardy!, visit www.Jeopardy.com

To learn more about Watson and to view a video series about the DeepQA technology powering Watson, please visit www.ibmwatson.com.

You can also join the social discussion about Watson (be sure to include the hashtag #ibmwatson in your Tweets!)

If you want, you can also become Watson’s friend on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ibmwatson.

Even supercomputers need friends.

Written by turbotodd

December 14, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Deep Blue Redux

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Flashback: May 3, 1997

Where: The Equitable Center, New York City

What: Deep Blue v. Kasparov, The Rematch

Garry Kasparov prepares to make a move against IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer during the May 1997 rematch in which IBM's Deep Blue was ultimately victorious.

It was classic Man v. Machine.  World champion chessmaster Garry Kasparov had agreed to a rematch against the IBM Supercomputer, Deep Blue, after Kasparov had taken Deep Blue 4-2 in Philadelphia in their first meeting in February 1996.

This time, Deep Blue was out for…well, if not blood, then certainly revenge.  And Kasparov was out to show he could beat the machine once again.

Game 1 that day went to Kasparov.  Lest you were wondering how long things stick around on the Internet, you can go back and read the play-by-play coverage from the IBM Website for the event that day.

I was living up in Mount Kisco, New York, at the time, in Westchester County, and I remember trying to get onto the Website via dial-up modem and use a Java applet IBM had developed in partnership with Poppe Tyson so that people around the globe would be able to follow the action online.

For those of you were still in diapers, this was at a time when not everyone had a broadband connection into their home.

For the next match, I decided to head into the city and go to the Equitable Center in person to see for myself.

Well, not directly.  The Deep Blue computer, the IBM Research team programming Deep Blue, and Kasparov were all situated some 34 floors above the auditorium, where the “play-by-play” was being called.

Now, I’m no chess grandmaster myself.  Not even close.

But I knew enough watching the play-by-play (with several grandmasters calling the action onstage, including Maurice Ashley) up on the video screen to know this was some serious chess.

You could almost watch the IBM computer “thinking” through the moves, as seconds ticked off between moves — although on most moves, it didn’t take very many seconds.  Not for nothin’ did they classify Deep Blue as a supercomputer.

People in the Equitable Center audience would cheer when certain moves occurred, particularly those by Deep Blue, which often seemed to surprise the chess-savvy audience with the depth of Deep Blue’s chess acumen.

That was something I thought I’d never see in my lifetime: Spectators cheering on a chess game.  But it was terribly enthralling.

Because there was more to cheer about than the game itself.

One had to step back and remind oneself this wasn’t a Bobby Fischer/Garry Kasparov match.  This was Garry Kasparov playing chess against a computer.  In real-time.

This wasn’t a situation where humans were making the decision.  This was the computer in the driver’s seat, responsible for it’s own fate, but also devoid of the trappings of human emotions and frailty (which by the end of the tournament, Kasparov certainly was not, as he demonstrated in a number of his post-match temper tantrums.)

You couldn’t blame the guy.  You wouldn’t like being beaten by a computer, either!

Which is why I had the feeling I was watching history being made.  And apparently I wasn’t the only one.

IBM garnered an estimated $100M worth of free public relations exposure through the course of the rematch, but in so doing, captured the imaginations of people from around the world.

And, their attention online.

Up to that point, Kasparov vs. Deep Blue, the Rematch, was one of the most popular live events ever staged on the Internet. The Website, designed in partnership with Web design shop Studio Archetype, received more than 74 million hits during the event, which represented some 4 million users from 106 countries.

All the fanfare, all the publicity, all the hoopla…it was fun.  But you can only stretch the Man v. Machine, John Henry analogies so far.

However, the implications of the technology were…well, endless.

Dr. Mark Bregman, at the time the general manager of IBM’s RS/6000 division, wrote a guest essay for the match Website, and this is what he had to say about the match:

“Think about it. Playing chess requires knowledge of countless possibilities — quickly providing answers to any number of ‘what if’ questions. That’s what business people and members of the scientific community have come to expect from massively parallel computer systems.”

The evolution of those possibilities continue.

In June of this year, The New York Times magazine ran a cover story featuring the next move in that evolution.

If the answer is an attempt to build a computing system that can understand and answer complex questions with enough precision and speed to compete against some of the best Jeopardy! contestants out there…well, then, the question, of course, is:

What is Watson?

Written by turbotodd

December 9, 2010 at 6:01 pm

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