Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Watson, Code for America, IBM, & Jeopardy

Have you been watching Jeopardy this week with Man vs Machine? The human element - I think those words have the technology guru's at IBM on their heads. Maybe they need to knit Watson a cozy, Or, On a higher plain, to be human is to practice esoteric existentialism. (If you have to look those words up in the dictionary it's okay, I had to look them up to make sure I was really saying what I meant.) This may require some serious "outside the box" thinking. I have visions of Matrix in my head where humans are all plugged into pods because humans are the database the super-computer needs.

That brings me to this new non-profit program called Code for America. Here is their about statement from their website.

"Code for America enlists the brightest minds of the web industry into public service to use their skills to solve core problems facing our communities. We help talented technologists leverage the power of the internet to make governments more open and efficient, and become civic leaders able to realize transformational change with technology."

Doesn't that sound beneficial for Watson? Checkout their website at

How many of you actually thought that city, county,and state governments actually shared information, like criminal records. Of course over a number of years governments can access individual databases for information but you have to know which database and some idea of the answer your expecting. Imagine, accessing a super-computer filled with all the knowledge of the United States of America from Early American history to what happened yesterday, from the contents of the Library of Congress, to the lastest issue of your local paper. That is a ton of data. It is meaningless if you can't find it within your life span, but nearly 3000 servers searching the database for you, you may actually get the knowledge you are seeking. "Watson can you write a term paper for me while I stand here for 3 seconds breathing?"

So many uses for Watson. Like the billions of documents that governments around the world have collected keeping track of their people. I think this would be a lot easier if it could be accessed from a central location. "Watson, summarize everything you know about John G Doe". It goes without saying that there is an element of "Big Brother" here, but all information in the hands of the wrong person can be dangerous.

As a person in the technology industry, I am amazed at the leaps and bounds that have been achieved in my life time. You cannot rest on what you know today there is more to learn, to discover, to invent, to share, to live.

Growing up watching Star Trek the idea of actually carrying around a tricorder, seemed like,(and was) science fiction. The creation of a huge imagination. Our smart phones have really closed the gap between science fiction and reality. I always say that I wish someone could figure out teleportation. I want to live in the remote country side, and work in the city. I could have the best of both worlds. I could always see my family and friends on a given notice. Go some place warm and sunny to refresh my Vitamin levels, but just go overnight, or over lunch.

A Tricorder was a communication device, a vital sign reader, what else could it do? Did it really come into play during teleportation? Perhaps it was a GPS locator. Smart phones can communicate, and apps are generated for GPS locations. Also, have you heard of HealthTune 360? It is an app for monitoring 12 vital signs using BlueTooth technology by BostonLabs. Aren't you glad you supported the creation of satellite's? Bottom-line, smart phones are tricorders.

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