IBM Watson Team Takes Your Questions

IBM's Watson, the newly crowned Jeopardy champ, is now fielding your toughest questions at

Have you got any questions for the IBM team that created Watson, the world's first computerized Jeopardy champion? Well, now's your chance. IBM's engineering team behind the Jeopardy super computer will be answering the ten most popular Watson-themed questions submitted to this thread at on Tuesday, February 22 at noon Eastern. The answers will be posted on Reddit's blog as well as Reddit's r/IAmA section.

What is Reddit?

Reddit is a community-driven social news/question-and-answer site where users can post news links or submit their own questions and comments to be answered by others. Similar to Digg, all posts can be commented on and users can also vote them up or down. In the case of the Watson questions, the more popular a post is, the more likely it is to get answered.

The site's IAmA section is a place where people who are experts in a certain field or have experience on a certain subject post a thread and tell people to AMA (ask me anything). Reddit says it does not tolerate obvious nonsense and celebrities are required to prove their identity when posting in Reddit's IAmA section. At the time of this writing, some of the more popular AMA (ask me anything) posts on Reddit's IAmA section included "1 year ago today I was locked in a psych ward for 10 days. AMA;" "IAmA Vegas casino security guard. The TV show Las Vegas is *nothing at all* how casinos are run currently;" "IAmA person born without a sense of smell AMA;" and "I was raised in a polygamist family in Utah, AMA."

IBM's Watson now joins the colorful company of the IAMA's crowd.

The Top Watson Questions So Far

Here's a look at the top 10 questions submitted to Reddit at the time of this writing:

1. Can we have Watson itself/himself do an AMA?

2. Could you give an example of a question (or question style) that Watson would always struggle with?

3. What was the biggest technological hurdle you had to overcome in the development of Watson?

4. What operating system does Watson use? What language is he written in?

5. What is your timeline to bringing a miniature or cloud version of Watson's natural language processing to the common consumer?

6. Are you pleased with Watson's performance on Jeopardy!? Is it what you were expecting?

7. In the time it takes a human to even know they are hearing something (about .2 seconds) Watson has already read the question and done several million computations. It's got a huge head start. Do you agree or disagree with that assessment?

8. Will Watson ever be available public [sic] on the Internet?

9. Can you walk us through the logic Watson would go through to answer a question such as, "The antagonist of Stevenson's Treasure Island." (Who is Long John Silver?)

10. How did Watson compute how much to wager on the Daily Doubles and the final clue?

Think you've got a better question? Submit it to Reddit and try to get it voted into the top 10 before next Tuesday.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the threads on some of these questions for a lively discussion about America's favorite pile of silicon and plastic: Watson.

Connect with Ian Paul ( @ianpaul ) and Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news and analysis.

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Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
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