Intelligence in the Cloud

IBM Watson, the Jeopardy champion, runs on 90 IBM Power 750 servers, with eight 3.5 GHz cores per server.

Currently on Amazon EC2, eight extra large compute instances will cost you $2.40/hour. If you want to run 90 of them, you’re looking at a shade over $200/hour.

This brings up a couple of questions:

  1. For what tasks could artificial intelligence be as good or better as a highly trained person at $200/hour?
  2. What would this mean for society?

Thanks to David Patterson at UC Berkeley for bringing this to my attention.

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