ComputerWorld reports IBM's Jeopardy playing supercomputer has been touted by some observes to be one of the biggest artificial intelligence advancements in the past several decades. The supercomputer is the result of four years of work and it's one of the first computer systems capable of rivaling a human in answering questions posed in natural language.
The supercomputer, dubbed Watson, owes that significance to its ability to deliver more than calculations and documents. It can answer verbal questions posed by humans.
That ability, says IBM researchers and industry analysts, makes this machine more equipped than any before it to organize "thoughts" and verbally converse with people.
"I would say it's the largest computing advance of this century," said Richard Doherty, research director at Envisioneering Group. "I've been in computing since 1973 and followed technology before that, and this is the largest advancement in decades. This isn't an iPad. To reach [a computer] conversationally and have it respond with knowledgeable answers is a sea change in computing."