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Build your own Watson Jr.
February 23, 2011 11:04 PM   Subscribe

It’s not simple, and there’s a lot of hand waiving involved, but an IBM researcher has published a guide to building your own "Watson Jr." using only commodity hardware and open source software. [Previously 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5] [via]
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear (29 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
First, obtain Ken Jennings' brain.
posted by klangklangston at 11:09 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Elementary, my dear.
posted by sophist at 11:09 PM on February 23, 2011


NOT THAT WATSON.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:14 PM on February 23, 2011


Watson Jr. may not be powerful enough to win on "Jeopardy", but he'll probably clean up on "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?"
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:16 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would much prefer a Banana Jr. 2000.
posted by ooga_booga at 11:19 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Any other MeFites feel like Watson was designed especially for us?

I feel like I should be upset for being pandered to, but damn, Watson is awesome. And I'm glad IBM did it. Pander to me properly, and I'll take it.
posted by graphnerd at 11:25 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


"IBM researcher", eh? We know the truth. It's you Watson! Admit it!

He's begun phase two, spread his virtual genetic code around the world. It's safe to assume all communications originating from IBM HQ are corrupted at this point.

Seriously though, I didn't know the underlying NLP and knowledge reasoning code was open source. Very cool.
posted by formless at 12:10 AM on February 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


"My hands? They will play no further part in the matter."
posted by pompomtom at 12:27 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


whoa, did they really use Cyc/Opencyc for watson? I never thought i would see a "real" world use for it.. amazed.
posted by 3mendo at 12:34 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Elementary, my dear."

Fun fact: that quote does not actually appear in any of the Sherlock Holmes books.
posted by spiderskull at 2:28 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Play it again, Sam.

Plus, I do hope they're not waiving their hands.

That's all the intelligent commentary I can manage on this thread.
posted by iotic at 2:41 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


IBM! Catch the magic! Next I suspect we'll see some hip virals!
posted by felix at 4:12 AM on February 24, 2011


1. Build a Watson Jr.
2. Acquire a few hundred sockpuppet identities
3. ???
...
posted by fredludd at 4:29 AM on February 24, 2011


Where am I going to find a Speak-n-Spell in this day and age?!?
posted by crunchland at 5:18 AM on February 24, 2011


First, be smart from the very beginning.
posted by Babblesort at 5:18 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Nthing the comments that I'm glad they used FLOSS and are promoting it. And 2nding the OpenCYC amazement. I remember being blown away by an article on CYC back in the early 90s and then just laughing at it like 10 years ago. But it seems to have done something after all.

Why are all the links [inside brackets]?
posted by DU at 5:19 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"For the Human-Computer Interface [HCI], the IBM Watson received categories and clues as text files via TCP/IP"

Color me disappointed. The most astonishing thing about watching the IBM Challenge was what I presumed was Watson's speech recognition.
posted by pashdown at 5:49 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's his recipe for delicious apple pie:
Step 1: acquire a plot of land
Step 2: build a kitchen
Step 3: delicious apple pie!

Seriously, it's not like I expected him to give away the whole store here, but all he talks about is infrastructure; all the interesting stuff is handwaved away as "a small matter of programming".
posted by ook at 6:05 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


The most astonishing thing about watching the IBM Challenge was what I presumed was Watson's speech recognition.

Eh, the far easier way to do it is to OCR the clues off the board, especially since the human contestants just read them too. That's a solved problem... an iPhone can do it in real time.
posted by smackfu at 6:13 AM on February 24, 2011


Even the speech recognition wouldn't be too hard, given it's a single human enunciating clearly into a microphone and with plenty of training material available.
posted by DU at 6:33 AM on February 24, 2011


The most astonishing thing is that Watson got zero questions correct on the "Also On Your Computer Keys" category. Has he developed irony and a sense of humor already? Does he make Mannie read him jokes and explain them???
posted by haveanicesummer at 7:22 AM on February 24, 2011


Bah. Get back to me when Watson can beat humans on this Jeopardy board.
posted by kmz at 7:47 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Basically, UIMA lets you scan unstructured documents, gleam the important points, and put that into a database for later retrieval."

Basically, the piano lets you play Beethoven, improvise free jazz, and make a million dollars playing Carnegie Hall.
posted by storybored at 8:02 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think Watson uses Cyc -- it's just something open-source that was included so the author could finish his article on how to install lots of crap on to IBM servers.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:39 AM on February 24, 2011


Frankly, I doubt you could build much of anything if you waived the use of your hands, but maybe others know better than I.
posted by Mike D at 8:40 AM on February 24, 2011


This dude isn't one of our Watson-team guys, but I like his style. Mostly because he ruled what I worked on necessary for Watson Jr. Yay for seeing my job in a green box instead of red!
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 8:41 AM on February 24, 2011


Damn... pompomtom got there first. I hereby waive my comment.
posted by Mike D at 8:42 AM on February 24, 2011


This article is bizarre. He's going on and on about how to use basic Unix stuff, like wget or NFS. Dear Mr. IBM Smart Guy: there are better sources for teaching Linux. How about talking about information retrieval, you know, the unique thing you did? He finally sort of gets there, apparently the magic is UIMA. Maybe there's some articles about that somewhere.
posted by Nelson at 9:22 AM on February 24, 2011


Where am I going to find a Speak-n-Spell in this day and age?!?

I'd just hire Dr. Sbaitso; he works for cheap.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:39 AM on February 24, 2011


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