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Re: [ontolog-forum] IBM Watson on Jeopardy

To: Ron Wheeler <rwheeler@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2011 01:55:34 -0500
Message-id: <4D58D1E6.8030608@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 2/14/2011 12:05 AM, Ron Wheeler wrote:
> My feeling is that the amount of processing power (CPU's and memory) in
> Watson applied to Go would probably yield a winning player. We are now
> at a point where the tree pruning does not have to be very aggressive to
> achieve a reasonable time between moves.    (01)

Go really is orders of magnitude more difficult than chess.
Wikipedia has a long article about the challenges and the
lack of progress in even coming close to the professional
players:    (02)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_Go    (03)

> Would it get "What is 42?" as the question corresponding to
> "The ultimate question of life and everything, the universe
> and everything."    (04)

It might, but it certainly wouldn't understand why 42
is the answer.    (05)

> I suspect that the impact of Watson on Ontology as a field
> can be negative or positive.  It shows that you can get answers
> to questions using data that is much less structured than
> the traditional languages used for ontology research.    (06)

That's a point I've been trying to get across on Ontolog Forum
for years:  Precision in ontology is appropriate when you have
a precisely defined subject -- such as a computer program,
an airplane design, or a bank account.    (07)

But a top-down, monolithic, detailed, universal ontology of everything
is not only impossible to achieve, it would be a disaster, if anybody
tried to enforce it on everything.    (08)

> It raises the question about what is a "good enough" process.
> Does it have to always produce the right answer? Does it have
> to be a repeatable process that is subject to proof?    (09)

The correct answer to a question depends strongly on context.
Jeopardy is a somewhat artificial example, but it does have
a context -- the game show and the category of the question.    (010)

A completely repeatable proof is only possible when all the
axioms, assumptions, and data are fixed and frozen.  That
seldom, if ever, happens in a living system.    (011)

> If a Watson was available on a "per Question" basis and
> only cost a few cents per answer, how many companies or
> governments would use it?    (012)

Nobody would want a Jeopardy system, except as a toy.  But the
underlying software has enormous applications when given the
data (structured and unstructured) of a business or government
-- and the US gov't is the world's largest publisher.    (013)

IBM didn't pour millions of dollars into developing Watson just
as a stunt.  It is excellent advertising, and I'm sure they have
plans to reap hardware, software, and consulting sales worth many,
many times more than they spent on developing it.    (014)

John    (015)

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