Supercomputers and Robots are Already Outperforming Humans in Many Ways

In 2011, Watson, IBM’s supercomputer, beat former famous Jeopardy! champions, Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings. Winning by an astonishing $700,000, it was clear that this was a groundbreaking achievement for computer science. Seeing how this event was five years ago, it wouldn’t even be fair to have a rematch today, since Watson would have undoubtedly improved drastically on it’s performance and computer power.watson_on_jeopardy

This achievement may seem unimportant to some people, but when you consider we’re able to double the amount of transistors onto an integrated circuit every two years (ability to make smart things smaller and smaller), we will have Watson, or a Watson-like computer inside our smartphone, or whatever devices we are using, within the next decade or two.

The potential for these supercomputers to help us in our everyday lives is potentially endless. Watson is also working with doctors to help with diagnosing patients by listening to their own words on what is wrong with them. Watson is beginning to becoming flexible in what he/it can do, but there are others that are arguably better at performing a multitude of tasks, like Baxter.

Rethink Robotics, based in Boston, designed the Baxter robot to work alongside real people. Its cartoon face changes expressions to warn people what it is doing. Illustrates ROBOTS (category f), by Cecilia Kang ý 2013, The Washington Post. Moved Wednesday, March 6, 2013. (MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Jessica Rinaldi)

Baxter is a robot that literally learns by just watching the task you are performing and then performs the task for you. This can range from washing the dishes, to folding laundry, to mixing ingredients for a meal.

He and the other powerful computer minds are fascinating, but can you imagine what Baxter will be able to do a decade from now? Do you think the rapid advancement of technology will begin to take over many human jobs in the near future?


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