Episode 13 - Smartest Machine on Earth
Augmenting human intelligence is a lot tougher than it looks, and the promise of "Hal" from 2001: A Space Odyssey is still just a fantasy. But scientists are edging closer with machines like "Watson," an IBM computing system that is gearing up for a first-of-its-kind challenge: taking on human contestants on the game show Jeopardy! With a brain the size of 2,400 home computers and a database of about 10 million documents, will Watson be able to compute its way to victory? Given the complexity of human language, could any computer truly understand it? It remains to be seen if this amalgam of circuits and silicon can really take us closer to the dream of a fully developed artificial intelligence, a truly "conscious" machine. Win or lose, the difficulty of mimicking the human thought process with software is showing artificial-intelligence researchers that there's more than one way to be "intelligent."