Big news in AI this week: IBM's Watson project defeated "Jeopardy" champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in a three-night prime-time demo match. What does that win mean for computing, and more importantly, for humanity? That's the topic for this week's Reporters' Roundtable, and to discuss it we have two great guests, both with current books on the topics of computer vs. human competition.
First up is Stephen Baker, author of Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything. Baker reported on the development of Watson from inside IBM headquarters to write this book. He was BusinessWeek's senior technology writer before that.
And branching out a bit from the Watson news, we also have Brian Christian with us. He's the author of The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive, which will be out on March 1. He's also author of the recent Atlantic cover story Mind vs. Machine, which is a great primer for this topic. Both of these works tell the story of Brian's participation in the annual Loebner Prize, in which humans face off with computers in a Turing test competition to convince judges that they are human. Brian, it should be noted, was voted most human.
Some of our discussion points… Read more