In the final night of a three-day event, IBM's Watson supercomputer was victorious on a special Jeopardy! man vs. machine showdown.
With a final score of $77,147, Watson easily topped its opponents Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings, who scored $21,600 and $24,000 respectively. The game show was taped at IBM's Thomas J. Watson research center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.
Showing that he was not a sore loser, Jennings jokingly wrote underneath his final Jeopardy! answer, I for one want to welcome our new computer overlords.
As the winner of the $1,000,000 prize, IBM said it will donate $500,000 each to World Vision and World Community Grid, its two selected charities. Second-place Jennings took home $300,000 and Rutter, in third place, took home $200,000.
The super-intelligent computer was a four-year project by IBM. Beyond winning the long-running quiz show, IBM developers created Watson in the hopes that he will represent the first step in the next wave of computer-human interactions. They built Watson as a system that can rival a human's ability to answer questions posed in natural language with speed and accuracy.
While he was not as dominant as he was on the second day of the competition, Watson still stood out from the rest of the pack on day three. Going into final Jeopardy!, Watson held roughly a $5,000 lead over Jennings with a score of $23,440 to Jennings' $18,200. In final Jeopardy!, atoning for his miscue on day two when he named Toronto as a U.S. city with two large airports, Watson got the question right and nearly doubled his score.
The final clue was, An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldovia inspired this author's most famous novel. The correct question to the answer was, Who is Bram Stoker? All three got it right and Watson secured his victory.
IBM now looks to put Watson's computing power, 15 terabytes of RAM and 2,880 processor cores, to more practical use. IBM announced a research agreement with Nuance Communications, Columbia University Medical Center and the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine to explore, develop and commercialize the Watson technology in the healthcare industry.
Physicians might be able to use a Watson MD when there are questions about strange symptoms with unusual conditions. You can have Watson sit through textual information about what treatments there are and what kinds of patients have had it. This is important. Most of the information about patients is written in free text, difficult to leverage that without a tool like Watson, said Eric Nyberg, associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and one of Watson's collaborators.
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