The Mary Sue


Carrie Fisher Leads a Robot Support Group for IBM

There were quite a few commercial breaks at last night's Oscars, so I totally get it if you spaced out and missed the IBM Watson commercial starring Carrie Fisher.

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IBM’s #HackAHairDryer Campaign Condescends to Women

Earlier this month IBM announced #HackAHairDryer, a campaign designed to end the gender gap in tech by, you know, relating to the ladies on their level. The ladies did not take it well.

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Experience Watson In His Element By Harkening Back To His Jeopardy Glory Days

Team Ken Jennings Forever.

Earlier this week, we told you that IBM's super-duper super-computer Watson might one day be able to treat cancer patients by analyzing their genes (something Ken Jennings can never hope to accomplish, sadly). But that's the possible future, and who cares about that? Let's focus on what we know Watson is capable of: kicking human butt on Jeopardy.

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One Day IBM Watson Might Be Able To Treat Your Cancer

I'll take "chemotherapy" for $400, Alex.

Today IBM announced a new program they're working on that will use Watson, their now infamous Jeopardy-playing supercomputer, to treat cancer patients by analyzing data from their genes. Yeah, let's see how you like it when robots start doing your jobs better than you, oncologists!

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Bill Gates Admits That Control+Alt+Delete Was A Big Mistake

Next maybe he'll have something to say about the blue screen of death.

The "three finger salute" of Control+Alt+Delete has been a part of Microsoft lore since it was first put into the Acorn computers in 1981 by developer David Bradley. It's also used to log in to Windows 7 and below, which annoys users to this day. Gates is real sorry about that, as it turns out.

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IBM Wants Folks Developing Software for Watson Supercomputer So It Can Do More Than Win Jeopardy!

Sure, the Watson Supercomputer is pretty great at Jeopardy!, but IBM thinks it's time to branch out. They're going to be giving software developers access to Watson with a goal to "launch an ecosystem where Watson is a service and you build applications around it," said CEO Ginni Rometty. Could Watson soon challenge -- and probably dominate -- Siri?

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Here’s a Stop-Motion Film Made Entirely From Shifting Atoms Around

Here's a fun fact about IBM's research on storing data atom by atom -- sometimes, it gets really boring. Our latest evidence for this phenomenon is that the folks working on the project feel like making the world's tiniest stop-motion film is a better use of their time, and I'm not going to say that they're wrong. The result of their efforts at atomic animation is this short, A Boy and His Atom.

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Watson Supercomputer Goes To College, Revenge Of The Nerds Style Antics Imminent

IBM's Watson supercomputer is a pretty smart machine, already capable of trouncing our finest humans in trivia contests. There's always room for improvement, though, and in a move certain to leave Peter Thiel like, SOOOOO pissed, the team developing Watson is sending the computer to college, where it will bone up on coursework in English and math. Pretty soon, not only will Watson be better at trivia than you, it will also be able to trounce you in beer pong, meaning it's officially time for us to just pack it in as a species, folks. The machines have already won.

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IBM Scientist Once Taught Watson Supercomputer Urban Dictionary, Made the Best Mistake of His Life

Parrots and supercomputers are pretty similar despite one being a living organism and the other an artificial intelligence destined to subjugate the human race, especially when it comes to teaching them new things that they'll retain and repeat back verbatim. The Watson supercomputer, hailed at one point as perhaps the most sophisticated and intelligent piece of hardware known to man, more than proved this unlikely correlation when IBM scientist Eric Brown decided back in 2010 that what Watson needed more than anything was the kind of youthful street savvy that only the Urban Dictionary can deliver. If you've ever glanced through the pages of this compendium of modern slang, then you don't need to be a genius to figure out that Brown's good intentions didn't go over as well as he had expected.

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Your Breath Smells Terrible, and Someone Wants Your iPhone to Know That

In their annual series of "5-in-5" predictions, IBM predicted that by 2018 computers will replicate all five human senses. Seems like one company doesn't want to wait that long. Adamant Technologies in San Fransisco is working to get the iPhone a sense of smell. One reason the company gives for doing this is to warn people when they have bad breath, but we'd love to see the technology used to prevent us from drunk dialing our exes.

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IBM Predicts Computers Will Replicate Human Senses by 2018, We Predict We’re All Dead by 2019

In their annual "5 in 5" series of predictions, IBM looks for trends in technology and where they will take us five years from now. In this year's installment, IBM predicts that computers will be able to replicate all five human senses by 2018. Computers that can understand the world the way we do would be a huge leap forward. It could also be really, really terrifying. Let's just accept our metal overlords and go about our business.

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In the Spin Zone: IBM Researchers Take Big Step Toward Quantum Computing

Researchers have mapped the spin of electrons in a semiconductor for the first time, marking a big step forward in the march toward quantum computing. By synchronizing the subatomic particles, researchers were able to extend their spin lifetimes to just over 1 nanosecond. That's about the same time an existing computer processor takes to cycle, and offers proof of concept that quantum-based processors can remain stable long enough to encode information, according to a study published online this week in the journal Nature Physics.

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Here’s an Ad for Google’s Project Glass, from 2000 and Made by IBM

Remember Google's Project Glass? The product that's going to put a heads-up display in a pair of glasses and catapult us into a cyberpunk future? Well, true to the adage above, the idea isn't really all that new. In fact, IBM showed a mockup of what they thought the future of computing would be, and even made a weird ad out of it. Cast your mind back to 2000, and relive this creepily prophetic vision. Video, after the break.

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IBM’s Sequoia Supercomputer Takes Title of World’s Fastest

For the first time in two years, the world's fastest supercomputer is here in the States. Knocking Fujitsu's K Computer (repping Japan) to second place, IBM's Sequoia is now the fastest computer on the face of the Earth, capable of calculating equations that would have taken three days for a 1993 supercomputer in less than a second. The unparalleled processing power of this beast is to be turned toward simulations that aim to extend the life of older nuclear weapons, helping to eliminate the need for actual tests.

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IBM Bans Siri at the Workplace, Says it’s a Security Risk

For some, Siri is an invaluable assistant, allowing for easy searching of the web and email dictation. For others, it's a source of constant entertainment as it bumbles its way through human communication. For IBM, Siri is a security risk. So much so, that they have banned the use of Apple's voice assistant at the workplace.

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This Ghostbusters Spoof by Apple Is Found Next to the Dictionary Definition of 1984 [Video]

It's Technical

A lot of people say that the late Steve Jobs was ahead of his time. I will not dispute that, but I will say that this four-minute video of Apple goofing on IBM to the tune of the Ghostbusters theme song that was made in 1984 pretty much reeks of 1984. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Nope, not at all. It wasn't a commercial, it was made for a worldwide sales staff meeting for Apple employees and features both Jobs and Steve Wozniak in cameo roles. Not visible in this video: the neon legwarmers. (via Huffington Post)

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IBM Tapped To Process Two Internets of Information From World’s Largest Radio Telescope

Once it's built, the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) will be the world's largest radio telescope and an enormously powerful tool to probe the furthest depths of the universe, allowing us to look back some 13 billion years. However, the SKA doesn't even have a home yet and won't be fully operational until 2024. Despite that, researchers are already concerned about the enormous quantity of data -- double the daily output of the Internet -- the telescope will produce each day. Enter IBM, the grand-daddy of computing power, to develop a solution.

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IBM Makes New Breakthrough In Quantum Computing, On the Cusp of Designing Actual Prototypes

Today, scientists at IBM have announced that they've achieved a breakthrough in quantum computing that may allow engineers to start working on actual quantum computer prototypes in the near future. To put it another way, up until now, quantum computing has largely been concerned with questions like "What kind of crazy stuff could we do if we had one of these?" and now thanks to this breakthrough, it's barreling towards something more like "Okay, let's figure out how to put one of these together."

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Happy Anniversary Deep Blue, Sorry Kasparov

On this day, 16 years ago, a major blow was delivered to the ego of humanity when IBM's chess playing computer Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov in the first of the legendary series of games. This was the first time that a computer had defeated a reigning chess world champion in a standard tournament game. Though Kasparov would come out ahead of Deep Blue in the overall match -- two draws and three wins -- it was short lived. When the two next met over a chessboard in 1997, Deep Blue won the match. Deep Blue was a demonstration to the world what modern computing was capable of, and paved the way for other headline grabbing computers like Watson. I, for one, welcome our chess-playing computer overlords.

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IBM Can Store a Bit of Information in Just 12 Atoms

Instead of attempting to shrink down existing forms of data storage, IBM took a gamble and started experimenting with building storage from the bottom up; it paid off. IBM has now figured out a way to store one bit of data in a mere twelve atoms, creating a form of data storage 2 orders of magnitude denser than some forms of conventional storage.

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