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Surprising Science

A.I. Versus I.A.

For the past four decades, tension between artificial intelligence and intelligence augmentation—A.I. versus I.A.—has been at the heart of progress in computing science.

As the pace of technological change continues to accelerate, it has become increasingly possible to design computing systems that enhance the human experience, or now—in a growing number of cases—completely dispense with it. The implications of progress in A.I. are being brought into sharp relief now by the broadcasting of a recorded competition pitting the I.B.M. computing system named Watson against the two best human Jeopardy players, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Watson is an effort by I.B.M. researchers to advance a set of techniques used to process human language.


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