Thursday, January 20, 2011

Today in the Robot Uprising

Via Kevin Drum, There seems to be some official-looking footage of the Watson-versus-Champions Jeopardy! practice round: Sadly, this official footage doesn't include Watson's "thinking", which is the most fascinating part of the whole thing. I'm way more interested in Watson's second and third guesses, as well as what it thought the answer was when it decides not to buzz in.

Elsewhere, a collection of grad students at UC-Berkeley taught a computer to teach itself to play Starcraft, a Real-Time Strategy game involving elements of maximizing army production, constructing the proper unit type to defeat your opponent, maneuvers, etc. Note the distinction here. After several attempts to build in logic of strategies already known to humans, they eventually decided to let the computer itself come up with tactics based on endless practice runs.
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