Human-computer interaction, indeed

This event was great fun – fun as a show, but also impressive in what both the student teams (well, MIT didn’t do that well…) and the computer could do. Jeopardy is a very complicated game, relies on wordplay (In the category “presidential rhymes”, the answer is “George W.’s bottoms”, the question “What is Bush’es tushes), obscure knowledge and word combinations (such as combining two movie titles into a new one, as in “Millon Dollar Baby Boom”).

If only the HBS team hadn’t played it safe towards the end – they bet just enough money so that they would not lose to MIT if they missed the last question – we would have had the first instance where the computer had lost to a human team. Oh well…

Addendum: A perspective from Stacey Higginbotham: Why Watson can’t talk to Siri. (I wonder if they used the same questions at that event, since Chile was an answer in the HBS one, too. Doesn’t mean they are cheating, though – it is quite easy to make a computer forget…

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