Mark Bernstein explains why people shouldn’t be freaking out that Watson the Jeopardy-playing computer means that humans are obsolete:
We’ve made machines that answer questions for a very long time. We need better ways to get answers and better answers. When we decided that it was self-evident that all men are created equal, lots of people were worried: Won’t this be the end of civilized life? Who will make dinner and clean up the mess? I think we can manage.
On a related note, don’t miss Ken Jennings’ first-hand account of facing off against Watson. It’s funny.