Monday, February 28, 2011

The Implications of Watson

IBM's Watson system recently won a televised Jeopardy contest in the States against two human champions. This achievement has brought real-time natural language question answering to a whole new level of competence. Read my assessment at

We went to see Brighton Rock at the Wells Film Centre this afternoon. After a gushing interview with Helen Mirren (it was Mirren - who plays Ida - who was gushing) on Radio 4 a few weeks back, the interviewer remarked sotto voce "I found it quite uninvolving."

Graham Greene's book is action-packed and menacing. In the film this translates to 'rather slow'. Mirren is as good as she always is, but the lead character of Pinky Brown, the juvenile gangster, is played as one-dimensional menace.

In the book Pinky is a sexually-repressed and possibly homosexual sociopath, with lingering Catholic conditioning. Such psychological complexity has been lost by Director Rowan Joffe.