Tonight I was doing laundry while my husband was watching television in the other room. I am used to hearing words like military, marsupial, and woolly mammoth coming from his preferred viewing channels —  History, Discovery, and PBS. It took me a few minutes to realize what I was hearing sounded way too familiar to my world. Words like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and semantic technology came wafting through the house. I soon discovered the program was a NOVA feature, “Smartest Machine on Earth” on our local PBS channel.

The focus was on Watson, the famous IBM creation that took on the Jeopardy champions and won. It was a very interesting walk through the process of artificial intelligence being developed and honed over at least four years just for a chance to appear on Jeopardy. What struck me most was not just the impressive artificial intelligence developed, but the human intelligence that conceived of the idea and brought it to fruition. I hope in our efforts to achieve new levels in technology, we don’t forget the value of the human brain.

Melody K. Smith

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