IBM's Supercomputer Watson Knows the Secret to Happiness


Supercomputer Watson can give medical advice and dominate on Jeopardy! Now, bolstering its resume, Watson has answers to some of humankind’s biggest existential questions, thanks to IBM’s new partnership with TED.

After sorting through and organizing around 2000 TED talks, Watson is able to spit out responses to deep queries such as “What is the secret to happiness?” via relevant clips from TED lectures. (What makes Watson stand out from other computers is its focus on mimicking our own cognitive processes—it “learns” material, instead of just following commands.) The user can then choose to view the entire talk associated with each clip, or move on to a different expert’s opinion about that same topic.

Watson’s newest feature, says IBM Watson Group program director Kai Young, is really more of a “discovery engine” than a traditional search engine.

“It allows you to discover ideas and make connections,” Young explained to Business Insider. “We can move beyond keywords to the actual ideas and insights that are a part of the speakers’ content. A lot of different signals—silence, points of applause, laughter—help to understand a video, rather than just the description someone gave it.”

A team of IBM developers worked for approximately two months on the project, which they kept classified until recently. Although it’s still in alpha testing, the public will be able to put Watson to work when its TED program undergoes beta testing later this summer at

[h/t: Business Insider]