The Robot Will See You Now
By Jonathan Cohn for The Atlantic
What do cancer and Jeopardy super-brain Ken Jennings have in common? Well, according to a fascinating article in the latest issue of the Atlantic Monthly, supercomputer Watson is poised to beat both of them. Watson, if you hadn’t heard already, was the computer contestant on Jeopardy who, through the sheer programming genius of the folks over at IBM, was able to defeat the two best Jeopardy contestants in history—Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter—in a game many believed to be the final bastion of humankind’s unique intelligence against the inexorable onslaught of machines. In other words, Jeopardy’s special brand of cryptic clues drawn from the vast pool of mankind’s knowledge defines, for many, what it means to be human and smart.
Instead of just letting Watson rest idly on its sizeable laurels, IBM offered the computer to the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The center believes that the same aptitude Watson showed for sifting through millions of databases to find the one answer to match the Jeopardy clue can be employed to sift through mountains of doctors’ notes – and, by extension, correctly diagnosis patients. The answer to cancer, as the article goes on to explain, is a lot more multifaceted and elusive than a mere computing of facts. The article aims to discover if Watson will be up to task to treat and cure, what one eminent oncologist describes as, the emperor of all maladies.
For Your Vocab Consideration
Something I’m sure Watson (and Ken Jennings) know are the meanings of these GRE words, all of which pop up in the article.
…and many more…
What were some words you found tough in the article? What about any related words to the article that come to mind?