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Critique of Artificial Intelligence Essay

Journalist John Markoff wrote the article “Computer Wins On ‘Jeopardy!’: Trivial, It’s Not”. He discusses how the super computer “Watson” defeated the all time champion of “Jeopardy!” Ken Jennings. The author, throughout the article, agrees that the supercomputer “Watson” was a fair match against Ken Jennings. I disagree with Markoff for multiple reasons. This was in no way a fair match because the computer had a remarkable ability to answer questions at super speeds. Also, the computer has access to all available questions and the ability to answer them. This was in no way a fair battle between the computer and Ken Jennings.

The author’s main idea of this article is mainly to say how the supercomputer was a fair match between the two. The computer has ways to answer questions that humans have no way of doing. The computer can answer questions within seconds and even milliseconds when the question is asked. It has a super speed ability to answer these questions, which gives no time for the competitor to even have a chance to answer the questions given. So, when the competitor has no time to even have an attempt to answer the question, there is no way to win. “Watson” is so smart that almost every question that is asked, he answers correctly.

Since I don’t agree with Markoff’s statement about “Watson”, I don’t think his argument is valid. The reason I don’t believe his argument and points are valid is that a computer that has remarkable and inhuman-like abilities is obviously going to win in a competition of speed and knowledge. Ken Jennings had no chance against this computer. So, if a human has no chance against a machine, how can anyone call this a fair fight? Now, Markoff did define his terms clearly and specifically describe his reasons for why he thinks what he thinks, so I do give him credit for that. Still, I disagree with his argument.

I disagree with most of Markoff’s view about the competition between the computer and Jennings. His main point of the fair competition is totally undebatable. “Watson, on the other hand, does not anticipate the light, but has a weighted scheme that allows it, when it is highly confident, to hit the buzzer in as little as 10 milliseconds, making it hard for humans to beat” (Markoff 212). This statement made by Markoff proves that this was in no way possible for Jennings to beat the super computer. The computer can buzz in at amazing speeds as little as 10 milliseconds, which is way faster than any other human could possibly buzz in.

Plus, the computer is programmed with so much information, that it would most likely be able to defeat Jennings, just because of the intelligence of this machine that the creators programmed into it. Overall, I do not believe that this piece published by John Markoff is in anyway valid. Markoff does however succeed in persuading people his ideas and describing his ideas and arguments very specifically. He does a good job with his argument and stating what he thinks. I do not agree with his argument though. My reaction to this piece is actually astonished because I am not sure how anyone could think that a computer competing against a very intelligent human was fair at all.

The weakness of this passage is probably how it can be hard for someone to understand how a computer can manage to accomplish all this, but the strengths are good description and expression of the passage. Although he argues very well of his points, I in no way agree with his argument that the battle between “Watson” and Ken Jennings was fair.

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