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Re: [ontolog-forum] IBM Watson on Jeopardy

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2011 21:45:30 -0500
Message-id: <4D58974A.7010301@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Patrick and Jack,    (01)

Some comments:    (02)

> Minsky did not sound bitter to me.
> Disappointed that the news media has bestowed the AI crown on a system
> with no more understanding of Jeopardy than an orrery has of
> astrophysics, but not bitter.    (03)

I don't understand that criticism.    (04)

Does a program that proves a theorem understand theorem proving?
When Cyc answers a question, does it understand question answering
any better than Watson?    (05)

Note that Watson generates hypotheses about what a question is
asking for, evaluates alternative proposed answers, and uses
deduction as a "reality check" on the answer.  That seems to
be more sophisticated than an inference engine that just
carries out a straightforward deduction.    (06)

> I agree that media has its own way of blowing things out of
> proportion, but, as one who is doing a thesis research project that
> only barely scratches the edges of the innovation found inside Watson,
> I can only stand in solid recognition of towering accomplishment.    (07)

I agree.  Cyc has been working on commonsense reasoning since 1984.
They defined 600 thousand concept types with 6 million axioms.  But
Watson has demonstrated quite a bit of common sense in answering a
broader range of difficult questions than Cyc has.    (08)

I would claim that Watson has found a better way.  I can understand
why Minsky might be jealous, but I don't know why he would be bitter.
I think it's great that Watson is showing that AI-based technology
can answer some difficult questions better than most humans.    (09)

It's difficult to find good metrics for evaluating AI systems.
Chess was one, but it was too specialized.  Jeopardy is much
closer to commonsense reasoning.    (010)

John    (011)

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