Saturday, March 9, 2013

Smartest Machine on Earth

Smartest Machine on Earth
[DVD 006.3 Sma]

Fascinating and fast-paced episode of NOVA, focusing on the development of Watson, the super-computer created by scientists at IBM, which competed on the TV quiz show Jeopardy in February 2011 against the top two human Jeopardy winners -- Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. NOVA does a great job of distilling the essential scientific elements down into something the average viewer can clearly understand. In this case, the focus is on how machine learning within a finite database of knowledge compares to human intuition and thinking processes. While on the surface, focusing years of effort and millions of dollars on creating a machine intelligence that can win at a quiz show seems somewhat foolhardy, but the things that scientists have learned about the development of true artificial intelligence may make it all worthwhile. My only complaint about this DVD is that I wish that they had included the Watson episode of Jeopardy as a bonus feature -- the snippets from the Jeopardy filming that are included throughout this NOVA episode makes me wish I could see the full Jeopardy episode as well! I love Ken Jenning's humorous little note in the Final Jeopardy round: "I for one welcome our new computer overlords". [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to visit the NOVA website or view the Jeopardy episode on YouTube.] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [Subscribe to Scott's monthly booklist newsletter It's All Geek to Me! - on the Books, Movies & More newsletter sign-up page].

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this episode of NOVA ] | [ official Smartest Machine on Earth page on the NOVA web site ]

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