Machines capable of Watson-level general knowledge may remain out of many company’s budgets for years, but that may not matter. To play Jeopardy!, Watson needs a strongly diverse base of knowledge in history, literature, science, the arts and so on. The automated systems of most businesses would not. My travel agency’s automated booking system, for example, wouldn’t need to know the poems of Emily Dickinson or the date of the Norman conquest; it would need to know geography, vacation packages, airline schedules, my travel history, visa and vaccination requirements and the like.
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