Here is an incredibly in-depth article from the New York Times about IBM’s latest articifial intelligence invention – Watson.
IBM gained fame in this supercomputer arena with their Deep Blue computer, beating world chess champion Garry Kasparov two games to one (with three draws) in a six-game match. This was the first time a computer had ever beaten a human chess champion. Kasparov apparently was so upset that he demanded a rematch, but IBM ended up dismantling the Deep Blue computer.
Rather than focusing on known chess moves, Watson can understand natural language, and then play competitive games of Jeopardy! by providing the correct answers (in the form of a question, mind you). You can actually play against Watson through the IBM website (I got my butt stomped, by the way…)
Take a read of the New York Times article here. Facebook readers can watch a video on IBM’s Watson here.
A recent article in the Vancouver Sun shows some interesting things that you can do with the new computational knowledge engine Wolfram|Alpha.
Author Chad Skelton decided to check out the statistics of his first name, “Chad”. By inputting “chad” into the entry line, Wolfram|Alpha gives you a wealth of information. Rather than return a series of links to webpages that may or may not be relevant to what you’re looking for, you get relevant information (that Wolfram|Alpha actually computes itself) on your request.
Now, since “Chad” is an African country, you can end up getting population, geographic, and other demographic info on the country. But, Wolfram|Alpha also understands that “chad” is a name, a lake, a protein, and also a word (for all you Florida election fans out there…), so you can click on any of these to get that information. Skelton found out, for instance, that the distribution of “Chad” being used as a first name peaked in about 1973 or so.
Unfortunately, when I put in my name (“Mic”), I find that I’m either a unit of measurement (a microgram) or a constellation (Microscopium). “Michael” is a bit easier to identify with a name, and still seems to be pretty popular, peaking between 1950 and 1980.
You can read Skelton’s original article here, or play around yourself at Wolfram|Alpha.
According to Bloomberg, Verizon Wireless will start offering service for Apple’s popular iPhone, possibly as soon as January of 2011.
I have friends that have iPhones and talk of switching to Google Android phones in order to get Verizon service. However, if this report is true, it could keep Apple at the top of the heap for some time.
Have you ever watched one of those infomercials on TV and listen to the announcer bemoaning that “30% of your energy bill is literally flying out the door!” or “Looks like another summer of lawncare nightmares”? What if life were really that bad, but all the time?
Well, the website Everything is Terrible! has a video that has strung over 5 minutes of these infomercial clips into one long string of life misery. It includes clips from infomercials such as The Magic Bullet Express, Jack LaLanne’s Power Juicer, Ab Circle Pro, and Lee Majors Bionic Hearing Aid (but wait, that’s not all! …)
Here’s the video if you have some time to feel down about life…
Inbox Zero Merit Badge (from www.nerdmeritbadges.com)
So, I was a Boy Scout… but I nevergot the opportunity to get these merit badges!
From the Inbox Zero merit badge (for those you’ve reached an empty e-mail inbox) to the Homonyms badge (for those that know the differences between to, too, and two, these merit badges allow you to show off your Eagle Scout level geekiness. You can even get a nerd merit badge sash to display them!
The newest version of Apple’s iPhone was announced today, and will be on sale beginning June 24, starting at a price of $199. It will include at least 16 GB of memory (a 32 GB version will go for $299), a 5 megapixel camera with a flash and 5X digital zoom, and a front-facing camera for iPhone users to video chat with other iPhone users.
Ran across this post about falling in love with the iPad. This guy went ahead and bought one the first day they came out, but wasn’t as impressed as he thought he was going to be. However, over time, he’s become totally hooked.
I do think that we’re seeing a real change in how people will use computing devices – here’s a few otherpoststhat I’ve written on the iPad and its possible impact…
Apple has sold 2,000,000 iPads to date, and they sold 300,000 on launch day. Absolutely phenomenal!…
It’s almost like a cosmic hurricane warning signal… From Bad Astronomy: “So, what’s the deal with Betelgeuse? What is it, will it explode, and if so, when?”
The constellation Orion’s biggest star is Betelgeuse (pronounced “beetle-juice”), a red supergiant, and it’s one of the brightest stars in the sky - that’s the “what”.
Will it explode? Well, according to some observers, the star is not round, and it’s getting smaller. This could be the signs of Betelgeuse heading toward a supernova phase, but it also could be explained away by large sunspots that fool our observations.
Bad Astronomy seems to think that this is likely an astronomical doomsday rumor. It may be interesting only because it’s close to the 2012 doomsday date that is the end of the Mayan calendar. But read the Bad Astronomy article for yourself to get the best information on the topic.