The title of the post today — Ken Jennings final Simpsons-inspired “answer” in the Jeopardy! bout against the Brad Rutter and IBM’s computer Watson — was the perfect tongue-in-cheek finish to an amazing experience. Kudos to Jennings and Rutter for participating and kudos to the IBM folks for their amazing work.
As a follow up to Tuesday’s post, I thought I would post a link to a nice New York Times article from yesterday discussing the Watson Jeopardy! experience: “Computer Wins on ‘Jeopardy!’: Trivial, It’s Not” (apparently the title was written by Yoda).
I’ve often waxed whimsical about picking up my iPhone and simply speaking into it and having it perform whatever function, search, etc. I request. Not just holding down the button and saying, “Call… John Doe… Mobile…” Not turning on the mapping feature and asking for directions. But saying, “I’d like a pizza place along our current route — maybe a local joint instead of a national chain. What’s up in the next ten or twenty miles?” and having it respond sensibly, accurately, and verbally.
Watson gives us a view of that future, and it might not be too far.
Whatever voice those first mega-apps use, if it doesn’t sound like Majel Barrett-Roddenberry then someone will have seriously messed up the future.