He may be no HAL or SKYNET, but Watson proved able enough to defeat the best Jeopardy players humankind has to offer. But give credit to Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings, Watson was made from 2880 Power7 processors and has 16 Terabytes of RAM. I couldn’t beat 1 Power7 processor, much less the 90 IBM Power 750 servers that make up Watson. I guess the real question is “What do we do with Watson now?” Well, it can multitask and it understands human speech. I suggest making it answer all the technical support calls at IBM. Watson’s calming and friendly (if mechanical) voice would be a welcome change over the usual fare of almost-English spoken at a typical sweat-shop call farm overseas. IBM could market Watsons to a host of companies to take care of technical support and complaint calls.
Or perhaps they should run Watson for public office. At the moment my opinion of it is higher than my opinion of any politician I can think of. We’ve tried Republicans, Democrats, and a host of 3rd parties that fall across the entirety of the left to right political spectrum. I can’t see any possible way that Watson could do any worse.
Whatever they do with Watson, I say kudos to IBM. They truly have crafted a technological marvel.
Early this month I attended the Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting on a new business opening up in west Wichita. And it was the most fun I’ve had for months. Lazy Day Games is located at 4800 W Maple, and it’s a combination of a video game center and video game repair center. They have hourly and daily rates for their gaming center with yearly memberships offered as well. And it gets you access to the gaming center which has a variety of the latest gaming consoles all hooked up to very good monitors, with sound provided by headphones. All networked together and online ready. And to top it off, comfy chairs just perfect for the marathon gaming session. Which is what we did that day. And I’m going back. They have frequent game tournaments, and it’s a really good party for those parents out there who want to do something cool for their kids. Don’t take my word for it though, stop by and try it out or visit them on the web at lazydaygames.com.
Oh, and a while back I promised an update on which e-reader I would eventually chose. I settled on the Kobo e-reader from Borders. It has all the stuff I need; wireless connection, easy to read e-ink screen, and expandable memory. And it left out all the junk I don’t want but drive up the cost of other e-readers. Who wants a touch screen on an e-reader anyway? Because I just love trying to read a finger-smuged touch screen. I can use it to wirelessly buy books from Borders, display Adobe .pdf documents, and check out books from online libraries like the State Library of Kansas. (http://skyways.lib.ks.us/KSL/)
And then yesterday Borders filed for bankruptcy. Bummer.
But I still recommend the Kobo. Borders will use the bankruptcy to re-structure and won’t be going away completely. And even in the unlikely event that Borders would go out of business, the Kobo will continue to be supported from their own website www.kobobooks.com. From time to time from now on I’ll let you know what I’m reading on the Kobo. Right now I’m reading the first book in a new series from Brandon Sanderson called “The Stormlight Archive.” Sanderson is a great world-builder, and this fantasy themed novel “The Way of Kings” is top shelf. I can’t wait for book 2 in this series. I’m also reading “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman (who brought us “Neverwhere” and “Stardust”) is one of the more bizarre writers out there and “American Gods” reads like a gritty and explicit cross between “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Grapes of Wrath.” If that doesn’t scare you away, I suggest reading it. You’ll never again experience anything else quite like it.
Until next time…