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IBM To Offer Watson Services In the Cloud 56

Posted by samzenpus
from the silver-lining dept.
jfruh writes "Have you ever wanted to write code for Watson, IBM's Jeopardy-winning supercomputer? Well, now you can, sort of. Big Blue has created a standardized server that runs Watson's unique learning and language-recognition software, and will be selling developers access to these boxes as a cloud-based service. No pricing has been announced yet."
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IBM To Offer Watson Services In the Cloud

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  • by Tablizer (95088) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @08:48PM (#45428587) Homepage Journal

    "Watson, what exactly is cloud computing?"

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "Answer: the cloud is where your refund goes"

      • Reminds me of a joke about Captain Mark Phillips, Princess Anne's husband. Reportedly, his Army colleagues called him 'Fog' because he was 'dim and a bit wet'...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Watson, what exactly is cloud computing?"

      The epitome of vaporware?

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:15PM (#45428783) Journal

      "Watson, what exactly is cloud computing?"

      "Well, sonny, since my API is billed per PVU [ibm.com] per hour, let me tell you a story that my grandaddy told me:

      Once upon a time, when men were men and bought their calculatin' machines from IBM, folks who were too poor to lease a calculating machine of their own would lease part of somebody elses. Then minicomputers came, and destroyed the good old days with fire and sword. Then microcomputers came, and slaughtered the minicomputers for their sins. But the minicomputers sucked, and had neither reliability, nor redundancy, nor Administrators to lead them. And Lo, the 'freedom' of the users turned to mere license, and became as ashes in their mouths."

      Now, sonny, the minicomputers and users have repented and look to 'the cloud' to restore the glory of the old order, where man leased, and owned not, and Administrators watched over the users, and guided them.

    • by ganjadude (952775)
      its got what computers crave
    • by unixisc (2429386)
      Elimentary, My dear Holmes!!!
  • Watson, what kind of application should I write with your API?
    • by mbkennel (97636)

      What do you call a user who doesn't know how Jeopardy works: the user provides the answers and I ask the questions?
  • Correction (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "IBM To Offer Watson Services Via the internet"

    "Have you ever wanted to write code for Watson, IBM's Jeopardy-winning supercomputer? Well, now you can, sort of. Big Blue has created a standardized server that runs Watson's unique learning and language-recognition software, and will be selling developers access to these boxes over the internet. No pricing has been announced yet."

    Brought to you by the Association To Remove That Stupid Buzzword "THE CLOUD" and replace it with its more precise and simple meanin

    • by dk20 (914954)
      I'm with you, a lot of this "re-branding" is nonsense.

      A few others which we can get rid of:
      XXX provisioning (Over, under, etc)
      Xaas (saas, haas, etc).

      "Private cloud" remains my personal favourite. You take servers you own in your data centre, run a bunch of VM's on them and now its a "cloud". A few short years ago we would have just called by the setup a more accurate name (VM's on physical boxes).
      • Re: Correction (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Let me guess, that you drive an Iron Horse to work?

  • by blue_adept (40915) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:00PM (#45428677)

    The fact that IBM is selling Watson as Watson just goes to show that Watson didn't in fact lead to anything interesting, in terms of general purpose AI. I always considered Watson to be Eliza on steroids, even in the midst of the marketing hype, and so far my prediction seems to be true. There was a lot of noise initially about how Watson was being sent to medical school, was going to be plugged into medical databases, etc etc. So far, from what I can tell, Watson is an expert system, just like Deep Blue -- good at the narrow problem it tries to solve, but not a good model for human cognition or language processing per se.

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:21PM (#45428817)

      Yea, but we aren't even remotely there yet. The fact that we have a lot of computers that can process even more than the human brain can, yet we can't come closer to the consciousness of a cockroach that a very complicated SQL statement should tell us something. There is something fundamental about the mind that we do not grasp yet.

      • Watson did pretty fair on Jeopardy, but has IBM considered the Loebner Prize? My guress is that Watson would be ALICE's bee-otch.

        IBM needs to address its, "googleyness"?
      • We don't have computers that can process information like the human brain can.

        Humans have 10 billion neurons, each connected to 10,000 other neurons for a total of 100 trillion connections.

        The brain is also far more parallel than computers are. Supercomputers are also quite parallel, but the "architectures" of the brain and silicon are still so different that studies of the brain must emulate neuron activity through software, which is very inefficient and incapable of running anywhere near 100 trillion syna

      • Your Brain Sees Things You Don't [sciencedaily.com]

        Science Daily has a piece on recent findings that suggest we throughput much more information than we're consciously aware of.

        the brain processes and understands visusal input that we may never consciously perceive. ...Sanguinetti showed study participants a series of black silhouettes, some of which contained meaningful, real-world objects hidden in the white spaces on the outsides. ..."The specific question was, 'Does the brain process those hidden shapes to the level of meaning, even when the subject doesn't consciously see them?"
        The answer, Sanguinetti's data indicates, is yes. ...Study participants' brainwaves indicated that even if a person never consciously recognized the shapes on the outside of the image, their brains still processed those shapes to the level of understanding their meaning. ...

        "There's a brain signature for meaningful processing," Sanguinetti said. A peak in the averaged brainwaves called N400 indicates that the brain has recognized an object and associated it with a particular meaning.

        So it's not just that AI can't process all that we can in the variety of ways we can. It's also that our brains are processing a bunch of stuff we're not consciously aware of.

      • the fundamental thing they're missing is that computers are perfect in their instruction execution, there will be more 'human like' AI when you have a system that doesn't always get the correct answer, forgets and deliberately ignores instructions.
        • the fundamental thing they're missing is that computers are perfect in their instruction execution, there will be more 'human like' AI when you have a system that doesn't always get the correct answer, forgets and deliberately ignores instructions.

          Microsoft has already patented these abilities.

        • the fundamental thing they're missing is that computers are perfect in their instruction execution, there will be more 'human like' AI when you have a system that doesn't always get the correct answer, forgets and deliberately ignores instructions.

          Microsoft already patented these capabilities.

          • the fundamental thing they're missing is that computers are perfect in their instruction execution, there will be more 'human like' AI when you have a system that doesn't always get the correct answer, forgets and deliberately ignores instructions.

            Microsoft already patented these capabilities.

            Wtf? Now I've been duped, better watch out Slashdot has a patent on that feature already.

    • i RTFA, didn't see anything about the API Specification; interesting.
  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:09PM (#45428741)
    Am I the only person here who remembers buying time on IBM's mainframes back in the day? OK, so the Internet has replaced IBM SNA, and the mainframe is now called The Cloud.

    .
    So, the PC revolution lasted 30 years, and now we're back to where we were in 1983.

    • The PC revolution offered low cost individual machines for doing work. No sharing, no scheduling, no fixed location. The PC by definition is a Personal Computer. It was only after high-speed internet connectivity became more ubiquitous that we could now harness the power of clustering multiple PCs that span great distances. And yet, we still use PCs as a thin-client to access resources of greater power in numbers. Eventually however, we will be accessing these resources via proxy from our Smartphones. AI en

      • The PC revolution offered low cost individual machines for doing work. No sharing, no scheduling, no fixed location.

        Agreed.

        to access resources of greater power in numbers.

        a.k.a what was once called a mainframe.

        Thanks for giving another example of what I said.

    • M1 code on the AS400 is 360 Assembler.
    • probably, back then it was easy enough to just steal someone's credentials and use their system for free... until the pesky government found all those extra charges and international leased line usage fees (pre-internet internet) which added up to more than a new car is worth these days. my buddies always had the latest doom updates though.
    • It's not mainframes. A mainframe is a single large machine that hosts dumb terminals for a single large organization on their private network. Cloud computing is a collection of many server machines hosting PC clients for many clients as a service across the Internet. The only things they have in common are large computational power and the client server model, and of course you could have rented time on a mainframe like you rent time on the cloud. But the technology is different; distributed multi-serv

    • by Lennie (16154)

      That is just a matter of time, before things more back to your Personal device again.

      This is what I'm seeing:

      They are using Apache Hadoop and a fast cluster of servers. So what you have is actually an architecture which can run on commodity hardware and open source software. Obviously the hardware that was chosen was optimized for the task. But you too can take OpenStack and deploy Hadoop on that. Their is even a special OpenStack project for that.

      So Watson was better than a human at doing certain cognitive

  • by wrackspurt (3028771) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:20PM (#45428813)

    In February 2013, IBM announced that Watson software system's first commercial application would be for utilization management decisions in lung cancer treatment at Memorial Sloanâ"Kettering Cancer Center in conjunction with health insurance company WellPoint.[12] IBM Watsonâ(TM)s business chief Manoj Saxena says that 90% of nurses in the field who use Watson now follow its guidance.

    Watson is an artificially intelligent computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language,[2] developed in IBM's DeepQA project by a research team led by principal investigator David Ferrucci. Watson [wikipedia.org] was named after IBM's Thomas J. Watson.

    It's surprising the number of people outside of IT who think it was named after Dr. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes books. "Elementary my dear Dr. Watson." Apparently AI still hasn't made it past let alone through what we take as elementary.

    • I thought it went like this: computer asks: "father?" IBM technician says "What son?"
    • It's surprising the number of people who think Sherlock Holmes said "Elementary, my dear Watson". Holmes didn't utter that exact phrase in any one of the books written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

      • by unixisc (2429386)
        True!!! He always said either 'Elementary' or 'My dear Watson', but never both in the same phrase. Nonetheless, I made a joke of it in the first thread, mis-spelling 'elementary' in the process
  • by LifesABeach (234436) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @10:54PM (#45429269)
    I've been looking, but I haven't seen specifications.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    urban dictionary into watson again?

  • If I wanted to pay for a chess-obscessed trivia addict, I'd adopt orphans until I found one.

  • IBM to offer Watson services over the Internet

  • Given that IBM starts this as a commercial service, I was wondering what happened to Cyc [cyc.com]? It created a lot of (partly negative) fuzz amongst computational linguists in the early/mid 90s and they have been entering common-sense knowledge into their database since the 80s. (There's also OpenCyc [cyc.com] if you want to play around with it.) People used to be undecided between "it's crap from the 80s, entered by disgruntled ex philosophy students and unmaintainable" and "it's the next A.I. revolution and every product w

    • It looks like there are some minor business applications in the area of language recognition and expert systems. See their http://www.cyc.com/enterprise-solutions/success-stories [cyc.com] page. The idea that some general, hand-coded knowledge base will start an AI revolution is naive and has been successfully refuted, in my opinion; I think robotics offers a better foundation for general purpose AI because it allows machines to interact directly with the world in a 3-D, realtime environment and receive the kind of

      • by jhumkey (711391)
        Robots might be a step in the right direction but . . .

        First . . . I (and I would think, almost everyone else) don't want "AI" . . . I want "Real Intelligence, just in a rapidly reproducible form".

        And I'm afraid without the ability learn by feeling pleasure, pain, or loss . . . we'll only accomplish a "fast parrot", without a spark of "drive" necessary for true intelligence.

        Of course, as soon as we accomplish true intelligence . . . I'll have to wonder if we've just ventured back into slavery, and wo
        • I'll have to wonder if we've just ventured back into slavery, and won't have the time to ask the robot, because he'll be too busy debating the existence of God, or whether to use VI or Emacs, or which is better C or Java, and whether he should run his C or Java on a PC or a MAC.

          Thus beganneth the great Robot holy wars of 2034, that will bringeth the almighty Singularity and the extinction of humankind, Amen. But you're wrong... VI is clearly better than Emacs, as every human already knows. I have to ask.. are you an AI? ;-)

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