IBM’s newest computer, Watson, is not only smart but also game-show savvy. During a practice round of Jeopardy in January, Watson beat Ken Jennings, the contestant famous for winning 74 games and $2.52 million. What does this have to do with the real world, where IBM allegedly lives? The company says that the computer’s ability to speedily sift through vast, wildly different reams of data and offer specific answers applies to all kinds of situations: helping doctors diagnose patients’ ailments; untangling knotty tech problems; bolstering customer service. Hooray! If IBM can improve customer service and get us to watch Jeopardy again, that’s innovation we’ll support–even if Watson whups us mere mortals.
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