IBM's overpriced circuit board "Watson" thoroughly mopped the floor with inferior humanoids Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter last night on Jeopardy! (insert Skynet/machine takeover joke here). So what's next for the estimated $3 billion box of bolts? Career opportunities are already lining up.
As CNN reports, there is already talk about a "Watson M.D." program that would put the supercomputer's language-recognition skills to use in the doctor's office.
"Watson, M.D." is a concept that IBM researchers developed that would use the question-and-answer system as a diagnostic assistant in physicians' offices. A doctor could ask a Watson terminal questions, and the system could use both online resources as well as similar patients' medical records to help reach a diagnosis.
The New Yorker also reports that there is interest in using the device to help people find out what's wrong with their cars.
After that, Darren Hayes, a professor of computer science at Pace University, also says he sees Watson fulfilling a truly Skynet-esque role in "intelligence-gathering, specifically in improving the quality of analysis at the seventy-five 'fusion centers' that the Department of Homeland Security set up around the country after 9/11."
At any rate, there seems to be a future for the computer beyond serving as an extended infomercial for IBM.
How many real human workers it eventually helps to replace is anyone's guess.