Vote for Watson in the next computer overlord elections

Posted on by vandal and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Not maybe as large in the media but it’s had its 15 minutes of fame and in those moments it was most used for jokes.

YouTube titles show news network clips with titles like “MAN VS MACHINE” or “Watson supercomputer destroys all humans”. Comments are mostly skynet jokes. Watson and such supercomputers are one of those technologies that are jokingly to be afraid of. “Robopocalypses” and such. No, nothing to be feared there, though facebook is corrupting the youth.

Then there’s IBM.

From IBM you see the people behind the technology. In fact, at IBMs site for Watson the people behind the technology are rammed down your throat. Highly contrasted with everywhere else selling the story as “HUMANS VS COMPUTER” IBM is selling it as “We’re testing this scientific project worked on by many against 2 of the greater jeopardy players”. Also they’re selling the product but to who? I cannot find out who is buying Watson for the life of me. Who bought that chess playing computer? That same dude, maybe? They go on about how the language detection and parallel computing will innovate fields but it’s said in general terms. It’ll innovate business, okay, how exactly? Specifically? Oh and then somewhere blueGene is mentioned.

It seems Watson is simply just a masturbation of computer science. A sort of “let’s test how far we’ve come in bleeding edge tech, though we can’t really get it too practical yet”. If it were sex of computer science there would be a sell-able product produced, and the product wouldn’t really be in the news networks but in the commercial breaks in between them. There’s a joke about computer scientists and their sex lives, but it’d be too easy (unlike any of the girls they’d meet! *ba-da-bum*).

IBM isn’t really selling Watson, Watson is selling IBM. Watson is a showing off what IBM scientists could do, in theory, to IBM products. Go invest.

(though I’d never have sex with a man just because he can masturbate really well, maybe that analogy is wrong, or something else is) 

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8 Responses to Vote for Watson in the next computer overlord elections

  1. Pastabagel says:

    In fact, at IBMs site for Watson the people behind the technology are rammed down your throat. Highly contrasted with everywhere else selling the story as “HUMANS VS COMPUTER” IBM is selling it as “We’re testing this scientific project worked on by many against 2 of the greater jeopardy players”. Also they’re selling the product but to who?

    IBM is not a computer company anymore, it is primarily a service company that also sells some hardware. But when it does sell hardware, like blueGene or Watson, service is part of the package. So selling the people is critical to the service.

    And who buys this? Governments and research institutions (often with government funding or grants). DoE (Sandia Labs) and NOAA have blueGene machines, and many foreign governments and government sponsored research institutes. In fact, DoD, CIA, and NSA are all proud owners of past generations of IBM supercomputers, and would be the target for this one as well. Now that you know this, pay close attention to the part of the video where they say what Watson isn’t (Structured databases) and what it is (natural language processing in near real-time) and then imagine what these federal agencies would do with something like Watson.

    • cro magnum says:

      The common defense I hear against the possibility of a panopticonal society is how much manpower it would take on the part of the State. Watson’s abilities destroy this boundary and, if applied effectively (ie, nefariously), will be more than enough to identify potential dissident elements and challenges to the status quo, let alone remind Extrordinary People to maintain their Diet Coke consumpution.

      But what about using this in reverse? Asssuming that these abilities eventually make their way into decentralised circles: imagine, for example, using this technology to chart languange of public figures at home against the language of affected peoples abroad? Like monitoring email chatter of people under the bombs about where they actually fall. Or who actually winds up with the aid money.

      There are more potential applications, of course, but somehow I think the scary possiblities will come to fruition first.

  2. If you just imagine that Watson is a weapon then the IBM spot deconstructs itself.

    Soft spoken white guy talking about how the world will be a better place
    “It’s a technological achievement”
    “Nothing will ever be the same.”
    …but… nothing is as powerful as the human brain!

    They’re not going to use the new tech to play chess or write bedtime stories, they’re going to use it for business.

    Whoever gets the tech gets all the power and advantage. So no, the overlord won’t be the tech, the overlord will be whoever partners with IBM. Less Matrix, more Blade Runner.

  3. TheFirstMistake says:

    Masturbation? Are you so naive that you cannot tell the difference between a commercial’s subject and its product? This video is selling IBM. That’s why the IBM team gets ten times the screentime that Watson does. Watson is just a prop in this video. You realized that, good for you. Have a cookie.

    But if you think that Watson is just a prop in real life, you are sadly mistaken. Don’t you realize what Watson does? Watson can tell the difference between what people say and what they mean. Imagine a computer that can read a blog and then construct the identity of the person who wrote it. Imagine a computer that can read a million blogs and then identify which authors like Coke and which ones like Pepsi. I can think of a company that would be interested in such a computer: starts with “G”…ends with “oogle”.

    But if all you see when you watch this video is a bunch of passionate nerds, well fine. That’s all they want you to see.

    • ThomasR says:

      “A sort of “let’s test how far we’ve come in bleeding edge tech, though we can’t really get it too practical yet””

      Despite your somewhat confused disagreement, Watson is not practical yet. Of course, what you describe is the end goal, but IBM, Google, Military Industrial Complex, etc. are not there yet. Watson is exactly what vandal said it is (atm anyway): a way of advertising IBM.

  4. stucky says:

    Watson is a proof of concept. Someone, somewhere, said a computer couldn’t do this. IBM proved it could. This is how technology is created, accepted, and finally sold. This commercial is an assertion that IBM can develop great technology, and here’s their proof.

    It doesn’t really matter what Watson does, except that someone said it couldn’t be done, and here’s the company that did it.

  5. Rooster says:

    Sorry for saying this, but — well, duh.

    Many people on high-level chess circles — including Kasparov himself — think that the Deep Blue game (the landmark match where machine defeated man) was rigged somehow — human players helping, etc. It may seem like paranoid chess player talk (it’s actually useful for a chess player to be paranoid), but then there’s the fact that IBM immediately dismantled Deep Blue, scattered the pieces all over the USA and never released any information about the software that could be construed as a sales pitch.

    They were not out to sell Deep Blue — everyone could see that superhuman chess computers were just around the corner in a few years simply due to Moore’s law beating combinatorial explosion, but IBM needed to stake a claim for “first”. And they did, though there are many chess programs that can beat any human player right now, and IBM doesn’t even have a weak beta in that space.

    The main thing is that IBM’s big asset is brand name recognition/goodwill. When their computer biz started to go down, they planted the story that they had “succesfully moved into the consulting/solutions space”, but they are being thoroughly mocked by Dell in the corporate world. Who else are they going to sell solutions to, NASA?

    So IBM’s business priority number one is preserve the brand name goodwill. They are in the business of perpetuating their own myth. This is what the moonwalk was about, this is what Deep Blue was about and this is what Watson is about: keeping their grand narrative credible.

  6. searcher42 says:

    Needless to say, if the public learned anything this summer, it was that Pastabagel was right. Intelligence agencies are making active use of near real-time natural language processing services for surveillance purposes.

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