IBM supercomputer will compete on Jeopardy next year

ibm supercomputer will compete on jeopardy next year blue gene watsonWe see all types of people on Jeopardy!, and this February that will extend from “people” to “computers.” IBM is working on a device that it claims will be able to rival the two most successful champions of the game show, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

As you may remember, Jennings won the most consecutive games ever during the 2004 to 2005 season, and Rutler holds the title of most money taken home by a Jeopardy! contestant.  But February 14 through 16, the two decorated winners will face a new type of challenge, one built specifically with them in mind.

Scientists at IBM have been developing a machine for two years that “can understand and answer complex questions with enough precision and speed to compete against some of the best Jeopardy! contestants out there.” The supercomputer has been codenamed Watson and has been programmed to not only recognize human language, but comprehend its meaning. It’s technically referred to as a “Question Answering” or QA system, and IBM assures us that Watson will have no outside help via Internet connection.

Jeopardy! questions often involve more than just a straightforward question. There are riddles and word play, things difficult for your ordinary computer to decipher. But Watson will be able to “distinguish between relevant and irrelevant content, and ultimately, demonstrate confidence to deliver precise final answers.” And it will also answer with the speed necessary to win the game. The machine has been training for the big day. Over the fall, Watson took on over 50 former Jeopardy! winners as practice, and passed the same exam all participants of the game show are required to take.

In a press release, IBM revealed that there is more to Watson than winning a game show. The purpose of the supercomputer is to take human-computer communication to the next level by imitating the human mind as closely and accurately as possible.

The winner of the upcoming tournament will receive $1 million; second place $300,000 and third $200,000. The human contestants will donate half of their earnings if they win, and Watson will donate all of it. May the best man or machine win.

Product Review

It's the thinnest touchscreen laptop, but HP's Spectre doesn't sacrifice speed

Our HP Spectre 13 review evaluates the “world’s thinnest touchscreen notebook” to see if it’s possible to make something smaller while increasing its speed and longevity. Spoiler alert -- it is. But does that make it a laptop you…
Emerging Tech

‘Minimal Turing Test’ asks humans to prove they’re human with only one word

Researchers from MIT and the University of Pennsylvania created a new spin on the classic Turing Test. It asks participants to name a single word that explains what makes humans, well, human.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

Amazon Prime brings more perks than just free two-day shipping. Subscribers get access to a huge library of TV shows to stream at no extra cost. Here are our favorite TV shows currently available on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

September brings 'The Dragon Prince,' an animated war series, to Netflix

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Computing

What to expect from Microsoft’s October 2 Surface event

The October 2 Surface event is just around the corner. Let's take a look at everything Microsoft could unveil at the event, including major announcement for new Surface products, unique accessories, and long-sought Windows 10 features.
Computing

MacOS Mojave has landed. Here are the five best features of the update

Apple's new version of MacOS is finally here and can be installed on your Mac today. Why should you upgrade? Well, there's a lot more to the update than just Dark Mode. Here are the five features you need to know about.
Computing

MacOS Mojave launches on September 24. Here's what we like about it so far

Mojave is the latest version of MacOS, and it's out now. Chock-full of quality-of-life upgrades, we took it for a test drive to get a sneak peek at what you can expect from the next major update to MacOS.
Computing

How to enable dark mode in MacOS Mojave

Learn how to enable dark mode in MacOS Mojave! As Mac's latest update gears up to hit all Mac systems later this year, the public beta for Mojave is nearly open for you to test out the latest features. One of the most in-demand changes is…
Computing

Critical MacOS Mojave vulnerability bypasses system security

Security Researcher Patrick Wardle has discovered a critical MacOS Mojave security flaw that could potentially allow malicious applications to bypass Mac's system security controls.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft and Shell build A.I. into gas stations to help spot smokers

Shell and Microsoft have created a system for gas stations that can spot someone who's smoking or about to smoke. The platform uses multiple cameras, local computing power, and Microsoft's cloud intelligence system to do the job.
Computing

If your data is found on the dark web, Firefox Monitor will let you know

Firefox is finally launching its Firefox Monitor service and you don't have to use the Firefox browser to access it. Monitor scans the dark web to see if your email address has been leaked as part of a past data breach.
Computing

Chrome OS update could make switching to tablet mode far easier

Google is working on an update for Chrome OS that would make its browser-based operating system much easier to operate in tablet mode, even with the new, streamlined user interface.
Emerging Tech

Teaching machines to see illusions may help computer vision get smarter

Researchers are teaching computers to see optical illusions. The reason? To create smarter, more brain-like vision recognition algorithms for everything from robots to autonomous cars.
Computing

How many GPU video ports is too many? The Aorus RTX 2080 packs seven

Aorus' new RTX 2080 graphics card wants to turn up the new-generation GPUs to 11 with greater cooling, RGB lighting, and a whole host of video port options that give anyone more than they'll likely ever need.