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News Link • Technology: Computer Hardware

IBM's Watson can now debate any topic

•, By Dario Borghino
 When asked to discuss any topic, it can autonomously scan its knowledge database for relevant content, "understand" the data, and argue both for and against that topic.
Watson's DeepQA is arguably the world's best computer system at natural language processing by a wide margin, which is an extraordinarily complex field of artificial intelligence. Perhaps the major difficulty in understanding human language is the lack of "common sense" in today's computers. For all its number-crunching power, Watson cannot "understand" the questions it is asked, at least not in a traditional sense. The way in which Watson answers questions is closer to symbol manipulation than to the way you and I understand and process information, but the end results are often impressive.
Watson looks at the question it is being asked and groups words together, finding statistically related phrases. Thanks to a massively parallel architecture, it then simultaneously uses thousands of language analysis algorithms to sift through its database of 15 terabytes of human knowledge and find the correct answer.

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