With two days already played out in a three-day Jeopardy! contest being held on US television, IBM's Watson supercomputer is leaving its human contendors standing.
The computer is competing against two winning contenstants on the popular TV gameshow, and so far it has trumped them all the way.
At the end of day two, Watson had amassed $77 147.00 in prize money against $24 000.00 for Ken Jennings and $21 600.00 for Brad Rutger.
Watson has been in development for the last four years, with IBM scientists aimng to build a computing system that rivals a human’s ability to answer questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence.
According to IBM, Jeopardy! provides the ultimate challenge because the game’s clues involve analysing subtle meaning, irony, riddles, and other complexities in which humans excel and computers traditionally do not.
Watson's ability to understand the meaning and context of human language, and rapidly process information to find precise answers to complex questions, holds potential to transform how computers help people accomplish tasks in business and their personal lives.
IBM believes Watson will enable people to rapidly find specific answers to complex questions. The technology could be applied in areas such as healthcare, for accurately diagnosing patients, to improve online self-service help desks, to provide tourists and citizens with specific information regarding cities, and to prompt customer support via phone.