bryan pardo2012

Instructor: Prof. Bryan Pardo

Monday (10/14/2013):[slides] artificial intelligence (AI), turing test, Watson

Wednesday (10/16/2013):[slides] machine learning, classification, spam filtering

Discussion Questions

Submit your answers to Monday's questions

Submit your answers to Wednesday's questions


Why is Watson a big step for AI?

What difficult computational problems had to be solved to make Watson good at Jeopardy?

Besides playing game shows, what might the Watson technology be opening the door for?

What is the Turing test? (According to Christian? According to Turing?)

Why is it good that computers cannot today pass the Turing test?

Which of Turing's predictions from 1950 have come true? Which have not?

Why does Turing go into such specifics on what a computer is?

Is it true that computers can only do what they are programmed to do? (Compare to "Lady Lovelace's Objection".)

What is the importance of universality in Turing's argument?


What are other good applications for machine learning besides email spam detection and filtering?

What is the difference between false-positives and false-negatives? Which is more important in email spam filtering?

What are the basic ingredients of a machine learning application?

Reading and Media

Articles can be obtained individually from their sources below.


John Markoff, Computer Wins on ‘Jeopardy!’: Trivial, It’s Not, New York Times, February 2011.

Brian Christian, A Barrage of Turing Tests: Daily Life in the 21st Century, The Atlantic, June 2012.

(SKIM) Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence, Mind, October 1950.


(SKIM) Mehran Sahami et al., A Bayesian Approach to Filtering Junk E-Mail, AAAI Workshop on Learning for Text Categorization, July 1998.

XKCD: Identity