AI Being developed by IBM – Watson on Jeopardy

THE way we interact with computers in our daily lives is limiting because we need to input information in such a fashion for the computer to make sense of it and to produce what we require.
When we type an enquiry into Google we are actually giving the search engine some clues of what we are looking for. It then looks for the most likely matches on the internet and then presents it to us as a list.
IBM has for many years been working on the whole idea of getting computers to make sense of a request. To actually understand what is asked and give an answer based on very complex algorithms. These algorithms actually mimic an aspect of real thought as you would find in humans. Well, as close as they can get to an artificial intelligence system anyway.
Years ago they developed a computer that was able to beat the chess masters. Nobody thought that it would ever be possible.
Now they have developed Watson – a free-standing computer system that can actually take part in a gameshow like Jeopardy (in America) and win.
The basis of this gameshow is quite complex and I think you’ll best understand by visiting the website http://www.jeopardy.com. Making sense of the questions and giving the answers in the correct form is quite a leap forward.
Needless to say it was quite incredible when I watched the show last week and Watson was able to win.
I believe that within the next three years we will see a major change in the way we interact with our computers and also a major change in the way knowledge is organised and searched for online.
Be ready to ask a question and to get an exact answer and not a list of hundreds of options for you to choose from.
This is a major advance in analytics and system design.

The ABC for 2011 School Kids

Latest from Nursery Schools:

A: APPLE
B: BLUETOOTH
C: CHAT
D: DOWNLOAD
E: E MAIL
F: FACEBOOK
G: GOOGLE
H: HEWLETT PACKARD
I: iPHONE
J: JAVA
K: KINGSTON
L: LAPTOP
M: MESSENGER
N: NERO
O: ORKUT
P: PICASSA
Q: QUICK HEAL
R: RAM
S: SERVER
T: TWITTER
U: USB
V: VISTA
W: WiFi
X: Xp
Y: YOU TUBE
Z: ZORPIA

Thank Goodness …. A is still Apple!

Learning made easy

THE future of learning will be online. During the past week I enrolled to complete a masters degree in health professions education at the University of the Free State (UFS), and I also started an online accreditation course for BlackBoard which is also an online training system.
The reason I am mentioning it is because in the past you could not start all of these at the same time, with instructors from around the country and also participants from Johannesburg, Durban and even Cape Town without anybody getting in a car or on a plane.
All of this is happening while I am kicking off my research of my dissertation. Most of my research will be done online and if I need a book I’ll go to an online bookshop like Kalahari.net and in some cases I’ll have the book delivered within 24 hours.
A few years ago the picture looked very different. I would have not been able to register and pay online for my studies at a university, I would have stood in line for hours.
If I needed resources I would have had to go through many little index cards to find the right book and then also go through the book to find relevant information. I would have had to make many notes to try and capture the information for me to take it home and compose my final script.
If I wanted to attend an accreditation course all the delegates would have to converge onto a specific location for a specified number of days and work through the information. Now with online conferencing services I get back to my work a minute after the online contact session has ended.
After I finish writing, I will get back to my studies and research without missing a beat.
How things have changed. I think they will continue to change, and one day almost all learning will take place online.
.  Nico Baird is a new media expert and can be contacted at nico@clicksa.co.za.

Old friends now just a click away

  THIS past week I was contacted by a number of old friends. Friends that I have not heard from in about 20 years. Old school friends.

As you can imagine I was incredibly excited to once again talk to them and hear about what they have been up to in the past 20 years. Many of them have tied the knot and have kids that are about to leave school. To think that the last time I spoke to them they were in school with me.

The only reason I mention it is because just a few minutes ago a colleague of mine told me that he was so excited, because he had just made contact with an old school friend of his and they were going to have a quick drink after work.

I then realised that even though people are so quick to show all the negative things that can be associated with Facebook, we tend to take the power of Facebook to connect old friends for granted.

The only way in which you could connect with old friends before Facebook was to meet at your high school reunion or phone people who would maybe know where to find your friends and then you could phone them. It must have been a daunting task

Now it is easy. Just sign up for Facebook. Type in all the information you are willing to share and try to find one or two of your old friends.

As soon as you find one or two you will start to find more of them. This is not age specific.

I know of many 65-year-olds who are now connecting with old school friends on Facebook.

Plan that reunion. If you know a few of your old school friends and you can find them on Facebook, chances are good that you will find most of them.
.  Nico Baird is a new media expert and can be contacted at nico@clicksa.co.za.

Change the world with one click

WE are in a new world, a world where its citizens are always connected. We are connected to our friends and often strangers that share our interests.
The internet and social networks give us a platform through which citizens in a country or community can band together and mobilise to stand up as one against injustice and the wrongs of the world. We see in Egypt how through a network like Facebook citizens have joined and arranged protests. Where they use Twitter to inform each other about areas with a high police presence and sending short information bursts to each other.
The government of Egypt tried their best to stop these networks by stopping internet connectivity, but citizens of the country went into their closets and store-rooms to find old dial-up modems and dial into other countries internet service providers and then they are connected. There are also other ways in which they are still able to connect. There is no way in which a government these days can effectively stop the flow of information. The world has changed too much for citizens to be stopped from networking.
I strongly believe that this is the future of our world. Citizens from countries where they are oppressed will in future use the internet  more  and  mobilise change in these countries.
I honestly predict that in the next few months we will see this happen a few times around the world. It would be really strange if this was not to happen.
The tools are available for citizens to join ranks and work with others who share their ideas. Citizens from around the world will now see that it is possible to use these networks to affect change.
.  Nico Baird is a new media expert and can be contacted at nico@clicksa.co.za.

Living in a connected world

We are in a new world, a world where the citizens are always connected. We are connected to our friends and often strangers that share our interests.
The Internet and social networks give us a platform through which citizens in a country or community can band together and mobilize to stand up as one against injustice and the wrongs of the world. We see in Egypt how through a network like Facebook citizens have joined and arranged protests. Where they use Twitter to inform each other about areas with a high police presence and sending short information bursts to each other.
The government of Egypt tried their best to stop these networks by stopping Internet connectivity, but citizens of the country went into their closets and store-rooms to find old dialup modems and dial into other countries internet service providers and then they are connected. There are also other ways in which they are still able to connect. There is no way in which a government these days can effectively stop the flow of information. The world has changed too much for citizens to be stopped from networking.
I strongly believe that this is the future of our world. Citizens from countries where they are oppressed will in future use the Internet more and mobilize change in these countries.
I honestly predict that in the next few months we will see this happen a few times around the world. It would be really strange if this was not to happen. The tools are available for citizens to join ranks and work with others who share their ideas. Citizens from around the world will now see that it is possible to use these networks to affect change.