Intellect and Knowledge

We talked about robots in class the other day and IBM’s Watson was brought up. I’m an avid Jeopardy! watcher and I recall one of the episodes that Watson was on. Watson was up against an absolute legend, Ken Jennings, and was destroying him as well as the other formidable contender. Watson was beating the two best Jeopardy! players alive by almost $30,000 going into Final Jeopardy. The category was “U.S. Cities” and the clue was “Its largest airport is named for a World War II hero; its second largest for a World War II battle.” Jennings and other human contender both answer correctly with Chicago. Watson answers with Toronto. Toronto, the category was “U.S Cities.” I was so baffled by the answer I looked into it. It ended up being a combination of multiple things, one being that Jeopardy category names are tough for Watson due to their ambiguity.

This got me thinking about Artificial Intelligence, and how intelligent Watson really was. Surely any knowledgeable human could have at least given an educated guess of any city in the United States and it would have been more intelligent than Watson’s answer. Watson is knowledgeable because of its vast database. So should Watson be considered Artificial Knowledge? But its intellect and ability to solve complex logical problems hold it to truly be Artificial Intelligence. It all comes down to how pedantic Watson is with the information it is given, how it parses through that given information and how its developers chose to weight its algorithm.

Intellect is defined as ‘the faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively, especially with regard to abstract or academic matters.’ It is the ability to solve problems. To deduce things. To be rational. To be logical. To be ingenious.

Knowledge is defined as ‘facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.’ Knowledge is learned. Knowledge contributes to our intellect. Knowledge is the pool we draw our Intellect from. Knowledge is what makes Watson so Artificially Intelligent. Not the only thing that makes him so intelligent. I do not want to draw any attention away from the extremely intelligent team of developers it takes to come up with the algorithms needed to create these machines. A lot of the things we have now a days are taken for granted. Path finding is an extremely difficult thing, and humans finding the most efficient path aren’t the best at is because we don’t have a topological view of our route. However, Humans create machines that can calculate those shortest path distances and reroute us if a road is close or backed up due to a traffic jam with extreme efficiency and relative ease.

Intellect and Knowledge are two very distinctly different things, though not mutually exclusive. The combination of the two is something along the lines of what i would consider a genius. These are the people who deserve a higher echelon in our society. ​


1 Comment

  1. I feel like technology is the perfect place to have the intelligence vs knowledge argument. I agree they are more different the people credit. Computers will become way more knowledgeable in my opinion then humans; however, there is so much more factors involved in intelligence then just facts.

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