IBM has come a long way since its supercomputer Deep Blue split a pair of matches with Kasparov in 1996 and 1997. The machine Watson is taking on a problem much more difficult than playing chess: understanding human language. Kasparov was impressed enough by Watson’s results and pote
ntial that he put aside the hurt feelings from the Deep Blue loss and discussed Watson in several tech lectures in 2011 and 2012, including several to IBM audiences. This recent report shows the humorous aspect of what the Watson team has to deal with.
Watson couldn’t distinguish between polite language and profanity — which the Urban Dictionary is full of. Watson picked up some bad habits from reading Wikipedia as well. In tests it even used the word “bullshit” in an answer to a researcher’s query.
Ultimately, Brown’s 35-person team developed a filter to keep Watson from swearing and scraped the Urban Dictionary from its memory.