Friday, February 18, 2011

IBM Announces Next Deep Challenge for Watson...

The American College of Medical Informatimusicology is proud to be the first to break the news. 

Building upon their recent success dominating world champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in the Jeopardy! IBM Challenge, scientists at IBM are ready for an even more ambitious challenge for Watson: becoming the next American Idol. They are targeting the 2014 season for Watson’s entrée into the world of musical divas and showmen.

Especially now that Simon Cowell is out of the picture, Dr. David Ferrucci believes Watson will have no trouble getting through first-round auditions.  Cowell's illogical comments (such as, “I’m not trying to be rude, but you are absolutely dreadful and should never sing in public again.”) often caused Watson’s processors to freeze up.  IBM scientists were also unwilling to risk Watson having a catastrophic meltdown, based upon analysis and emulation of the behaviors of contestants from prior seasons.  Says one internal source who did not wish to be named, “We are pretty sure Watson has figured out the launch codes for at least two nuclear world powers and we don't feel comfortable with how he might react." 

Once through the auditions, the IBM figures he will sail through Hollywood Week.  "At least he won’t forget the words,” says Wlodek Zadrozny from the Algorithms team. 

They also believe there is a place for synthetic vocals in pop music today.  Andy Aaron, who lead's Watson's speech team, says, "We've hired as a consultant to figure out how he makes his voice do that cool, computery voice thing and mimic that."  Apparently, IBMers have not discovered Anteres Auto-Tune. 

Once they make it to the viewer voting rounds, they expect the whole thing to be a slam dunk.  "How do you think Clay Aiken made it so far?" says marketing lead David Shepler.  We hacked into the cell phones of every employee of Accenture and robo-called right up until the last week--we didn't want it to look too obvious.  After all, we nerds have to stick together."

No word yet on whether they will be changing Watson’s avatar presence such as adding robotics, facial expressions and sudden outbursts of emotion or irrational exuberance. “Reuben Studdard pretty much just stood there and he won, so we don’t see the problem,” says Ferrucci.

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