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Elementary, My Dear Watson

The impressive demonstration of IBM’s Watson supercomputer competing against human players on Jeopardy is certain to stir a lively debate about the implications of this technology. Is Watson a breakthrough or a clever set of programming tricks that have inherent limitations? Will technology like Watson replace humans? And who will be liable if a human makes a bad decision based on technology like Watson? Even within the computer science and artificial intelligence (AI) community, Watson’s performance will provoke disagreements about its significance and its practical applications. However, such questions and issues often arise with the creation of new technologies, whether we are talking about healthcare, communication, transportation, energy, or other innovations that impact our daily lives. Such concerns rarely stop adoption. It seems clear that Watson is not a substitute or replacement for human reasoning or actions, anymore than our desktop computers or smartphones, but like them simply a tool….

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I think I’ll try defying gravity

Hello and welcome to my blog. In my first few entries, I will share with you some of what motivated me to start Hoaloha Robotics and my personal vision for how this technology could be an important tool for our future. On November 4, 2009, after a successful career of 28 years of contributions at Microsoft, I officially resigned. It had been an exciting ride where I had an opportunity to start and participate in a number of projects. When I started there, IBM had just entered the PC market, creating a catalyst that would accelerate the already building momentum of the emerging PC industry. Over the past 6 years I have watched what seems to be history repeating itself with the emergence of personal robots, evolving like PCs did from the large, expensive, and not very personal industrial-strength machines.  Like personal robots are today, many of the early PC…

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