The IBM supercomputer known as Watson had quite a foul mouth — until computer administrators wiped its memory
In trying to get the mastermind machine to converse with the natural tendencies of a human, researchers two years ago taught Watson all of the Urban Dictionary. The online document chronicles all the slang and anachronisms spinning out across the Internet and through public usage, including such popular phrases as "OMG" (Oh, my God) and “hot mess” (one in a state of disarray yet still attractive).
That was before Watson won the TV show "Jeopardy" for rounds upon rounds against human players. Maybe all that hipness helped.
Watson also learned how to cuss out his programmers. It’s said that between the Urban Dictionary and getting to know the ins and outs of Wikipedia, Watson picked up a few bad habits.
When asked a question by researchers, the computer once responded, “bulls—.”
After getting trapped in some of the Internet’s seedier sink holes, Watson couldn't distinguish between polite language and profanity. The Urban Dictionary is rife with toilet talk — that's why he spit out the foul word at his programmers.
But a computer talking like a sailor didn’t last long — researchers wiped the Urban Dictionary from Watson's memory.
The whole endeavor was meant as a primer for what's called the Turing test. Computers that pass this "exam" have theoretically met the capabilities of human intelligence. The qualifications are quite simple: If a computer can have a conversation with a human participant, and the human can't tell that the other "person" is a computer, the computer has passed.
No computer has made the cut yet.
The research team charged with getting Watson to talk like someone's pal ended up creating a filter that would block his use of profanity.
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