Keep an eye on Watson

He’s charming that Watson.
A bit too charming.
One minute he’s engaging in good natured banter with tennis champ Serena Williams. The next, he wants to write songs with Bob Dylan. How cute. He’s just like one of us.
Watson is nothing like one of us. He can read 800,000,000 pages per second, he tells Dylan. And that’s just what he’s wiling to admit. God knows what else he can do.
Watson, if you don’t know, is IBM’s artificial intelligence (AI) personality. He’s the “guy” (yes, IBM wants us to think of him as a guy, not a computer) who beat the snot out of everyone at Jeopardy.
That was kinda fun to hear about, actually. Then we all started to worry. Who has not seen Terminator I and Terminator II?
And when we started to worry, IBM started to worry.
Hence the commercials.
“The commercials are meant to show Watson isn’t a Terminator-style AI,” I read at Tech Insider.
That was Fredrik Tunvall, identified on the site as senior client engagement leader at IBM, talking.
He doth protest too much, I thought.
According to Tech Insider, Tunvall “said misconceptions about artificial intelligence turning evil and taking over the world is why they show Watson having a conversation in commercials.”
Of course, Tunvall admits the real Watson does not sound like he does in the commercials. I’ll bet he doesn’t.
The article also explains there is more than one Watson. There are 30, actually.
They apparently are all designed to do different things. One, it says, could help doctors better diagnose diseases, while another could help a mom create a recipe from the ingredients in her fridge.
Okay. Sounds good. But I can’t help wondering what the other 28 are doing.

Ed Ackerman