Are Computers Learning to Think?

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In 1997, IBM's "Deep Blue" computer defeated chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov. This week, "Watson" defeated two champion humans on Jeopardy. Because Watson answered some tricky questions, IBM says the machine has "the ability to understand natural human language." Watson isn't available on your laptop — yet.  It's a supercomputer the size of 10 refrigerators, programmed by 25 IBM scientists with the equivalent of one million books, including entire encyclopedias. It performs 80 trillion operations per second.  But does Watson really think? Super-computers already invest on Wall Street and land airplanes at busy airports. What will they do next? Is artificial intelligence nearing the point where it replaces not just our jobs but also our minds?




Warren Olney