Forget Trump and Clinton: IBM's Watson is running for president

Would we be better off with an algorithmically controlled overlord?

Watson for president: Is it that big a stretch? Credit: The Watson 2016 Foundation

Watson for president: Is it that big a stretch? Credit: The Watson 2016 Foundation

If company CEOs can be replaced by computers, why not the president of the United States? That, in fact, is exactly what's been proposed for IBM's Watson.

Watson has already made quite a name for itself, of course, dating back to its 2011 victory on Jeopardy. Since then, it's gone on to make medical predictions, critique written text and offer insight on product performance, among other accomplishments.

Now, a group called The Watson 2016 Foundation -- which "has no affiliation with IBM," according to its Watson for President website -- has emerged to help promote the cognitive computer's presidential prospects.

Watson was designed to compete against humans by understanding a question, using key information to analyze vast volumes of data and then deriving the best possible answers, the group notes. "This is a task all politicians undergo on a daily basis, including the president, and could be more suitably and efficiently executed by an artificial intelligence," Watson for President says.

"Watson’s capabilities for parallel processing on a given query allow it to evaluate concerns on a variety of metrics, gauging the most beneficial response across all areas," the website says. "Watson can advise the best options for any given decision based on its impact on the global economy, the environment, education, health care, foreign policy, and civil liberties."

Ready to welcome this new AI overlord? You can keep your wallet in your pocket for now: The Watson 2016 Foundation is not accepting donations at this time and does not expect to in the foreseeable future.

"IBM made 12 billion dollars last year, so contributions from the public are not required for the continued research on Watson," the website says.

People who want to support Watson are encouraged to donate to the Electronic Frontier Foundation instead.

In the meantime, while it's clearly a stunt, the effort also offers some food for thought.

"Just in the same way humans have facial expressions to convey emotions, Watson changes its visual form to express its level of confidence in a selected answer," the foundation's website notes. "Wouldn’t the country be better if all politicians were that transparent?"

So, would you vote for Watson? You can share your view in a poll now under way on the Watson for President website.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags IBM

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?