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IBM Engineer Builds a Harry Potter Sorting Hat Using 'Watson' AI (thenextweb.com) 117

An anonymous reader writes: As America celebrates Father's Day, The Next Web reports on an IBM engineer who found a way to combine his daughters' interest in the Harry Potter series with an educational home technology project. Together they built a Hogwarts-style sorting hat -- which assigns its wearer into an appropriate residence house at the school of magic -- and it does it using IBM's cognitive computing platform Watson. "The hat uses Watson's Natural Language Classifier and Speech to Text to let the wearer simply talk to the hat, then be sorted according to what he or she says..." reports The Next Web. "Anderson coded the hat to pick up on words that fit the characteristics of each Hogwarts house, with brainy and cleverness going right into Ravenclaw's territory and honesty a recognized Hufflepuff attribute."
The hat's algorithm would place Stephen Hawking and Hillary Clinton into Ravenclaw, according to the article, while Donald Trump "was assigned to Gryffindor for his boldness -- but only with a 48 percent certainty."

The sorting hat talks, drawing its data directly from the IBM Cloud, and if you're interested in building your own, the IBM engineer has shared a tutorial online.
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IBM Engineer Builds a Harry Potter Sorting Hat Using 'Watson' AI

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  • by monkeyman.kix ( 4487805 ) on Sunday June 19, 2016 @04:40PM (#52348801)

    Donald Trump "was assigned to Gryffindor for his boldness -- but only with a 48 percent certainty."

    Sorting Hat: Not Slytherin, eh? Are you sure? You could be great, you know. It's all here in your head. And Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, there's no doubt about that. No?

    Trump: Please, please. Anything but Slytherin, anything but Slytherin.

    Sorting Hat: Well if you're sure, better be... GRYFFINDOR!

    • Of course the books are written from a Gryffindor perspective which tends to frown upon the ambition and rule-bendiness of the Slytherins and downplay the fact that the Gryffindors like to bully people e.g. secretly poison people for the laffs, or lock a guy in a cupboard for 6 months or so. Hilarious - I wonder how his parent's felt?
      • That and many of the Slytherins were not really covered too much.
        I expect there are bad eggs in each house. The sorting hat didn't choose good and bad people just which house they would probably fit in the best in.

        Ambition isn't a bad thing, it can be a driver to push you forward. It becomes bad if you step on other people or bring others down so you look better.
        The same with bravery, you are allowed to overcome your fears and work towards something new and great, however it can also mean you are insensiti

        • I expect there are bad eggs in each house.

          That's a reasonable assumption. The hat seems to choose based on fairly arbitrarily set criteria (it's a hat, after all, and not that smart). Unfortunately old Godric might have been a noble fellow, but he obviously didn't see that every character type has it's strengths and weaknesses:

          1. "Boldness" = tendency towards callousness and bullying (G)

          2. "Loyalty" = low self esteem (H)

          3. "Wits" = Arrogance, aloofness,lack of empathy (R)

          4. "Ambition" = Egomania

          If each person had been placed with others who w

    • by Lennie ( 16154 )

      Of course it's hard to place Donald Trump in one of the buckets. He has no opinion. It's one now, an other the day after and other the day after that.

      For Donald Trump winning is more important that anything else, not truth or making clear what his plans are for the country. And some people like what is perceived a strong leader. He's just a bullshitter.

      • No opinion? (Score:1, Offtopic)

        For Donald Trump winning is more important that anything else, not truth or making clear what his plans are for the country. And some people like what is perceived a strong leader. He's just a bullshitter.

        Apropos of nothing, I notice that Trump has seven positions [donaldjtrump.com], with a concrete plan of changes for each.

        Hillary has 31 issues [hillaryclinton.com], which are all fuzzy and nondescript.

        As a "for example"(*), we all know what Donald's position on immigration is. Here's an excerpt from Hillary's immigration reform issue [hillaryclinton.com]:

        Enact comprehensive immigration reform to create a pathway to citizenship, keep families together, and enable millions of workers to come out of the shadows.
        Defend President Obama’s executive actions to provide deportation relief for DREAMers and parents of Americans and lawful residents, and extend those actions to additional persons with sympathetic cases if Congress refuses to act.
        Promote naturalization and support immigrant integration.
        End family detention and close private immigrant detention centers.

        Notice the wording: she'll "Enact comprehensive immigration reform to create a pathway to citizenship". Nothing concrete, gives you a good feeling without saying anything specific.

        If you want to "Promote naturalizati

        • by Anonymous Coward

          A plan must be actionable to be a plan. His fantasy is not a plan. Actionable in the sense of possessing a legal method for implementation, including checks and balances from other branches of government and the whole messy issue of constitutionality. Not that it would bother Trump either way, but it kind of matters to others who are, you know, actually governing for and by the people rather than grandstanding on bigotry.

          • A plan must be actionable to be a plan. His fantasy is not a plan. Actionable in the sense of possessing a legal method for implementation, including checks and balances from other branches of government and the whole messy issue of constitutionality.

            This is why I despair of any intelligent conversation on this board.

            Your blind obeisance to electing Hillary let's you say any damn thing you like, so long as it furthers your goal.

            Her plan explicitly states that she will, in her own words, "Defend President Obama’s executive actions", widely recognized as making up legislation out of whole cloth, and explicitly contrary to existing legislation. (And 25 states sued to block him on it.)

            You people keep pointing out how often Trump lies to the people, he

      • by alexhs ( 877055 )

        Of course it's hard to place Donald Trump in one of the buckets. He has no opinion. It's one now, an other the day after and other the day after that.
        For Donald Trump winning is more important that anything else, not truth or making clear what his plans are for the country. And some people like what is perceived a strong leader. He's just a bullshitter.

        According to Dumbledore, the qualities that Slytherin prized in his handpicked students included his own rare ability to speak Parseltongue, resourcefulness, and determination. He also selected his students according to cunning, ambition, and blood purity.

        (Source [wikipedia.org])

        In other words, a perfect match for Slytherin, right ?

        • by Lennie ( 16154 )

          Agree, sorry, my mistake. That's a the right bucket. It's good to have some knowledgeable people about Harry Potter on this site. ;-)

  • Since in the books there are 50 characters which actually say something, this sound a like a clear case of overlearning.

    • Which brings up an interesting point......even with such a small training set, a human can easily understand the traits of the different houses, and often recognize which house a new character is in before being told. Thus we see that humans can learn from a much, much smaller training set than a neural network. (Although since Watson is more of NLP + some kind of concept engine, it might be able to learn with a much smaller dataset).
      • Humans will also self identify.
        Most of us see ourselves as Gryffindor and not as Slytherin so we will give the attributes that we like about ourselves and give it to Gryffindor and the attributes we hate in others to Slytherin. Then mix it up for those other two, who we just don't want to relate with, but don't have any real issues with.

        With such a small sample explaining the houses we just assume we are the good guy, as you know yourself better than other people and like the story in a book you have full

      • even with such a small training set, a human can easily understand the traits of the different houses, and often recognize which house a new character is in before being told.

        It's pretty obvious to all but the smallest children. That gryffndor is good, slytherin is bad and the other two are unimportant and just there to make the numbers.

      • Which brings up an interesting point......even with such a small training set, a human can easily understand the traits of the different houses, and often recognize which house a new character is in before being told. Thus we see that humans can learn from a much, much smaller training set than a neural network.

        Except, of course, the reason we can recognize where the character is destined is that the houses fit our pre-existing stereotypes for school and fantasy dramas: Slytherins are smug snakes/villains/

        • The books use words to describe the traits of each house. You don't need to rely on inferring it from the characters.
  • So basically, Watson is used for nothing more than speech to text conversion? What colossal overkill. I suspect said engineer couldn't come up with a real idea but just really wanted to use Watson for something.
    • It also has a deep knowledge base. So it's language to knowledge, not language to text, which is better (even if the knowledge is pale compared to a human's).
    • So basically, Watson is used for nothing more than speech to text conversion?

      Off course. And deduction. It's elementary.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Its interesting how similar technology was developed for the Nazi's..

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday June 19, 2016 @06:23PM (#52349191)

    IBM engineer attempts to suck all the joy out of yet another thing his daughter used to take pleasure from.

  • AI is so harmless look at all the cute things it does!

  • scan your brain and auto-analyze your memory with no need to speak. this is the low-tech de-classified version.

    obamasweapon.com [obamasweapon.com]

    • scan your brain and auto-analyze your memory with no need to speak.

      Any idea when this UI which reads your thoughts and can figure out what you mean is available for civilian use?

  • Propaganda (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by zapadnik ( 2965889 )

    Do Slashdotters really not see the propaganda? whether you agree with Trump or Clinton or not is irrelevant, the fact that this article slips a political issue into an otherwise cool article about tech demonstrates how good propagandists are today, and how few people can spot it. C'mon Slashdotters, over 80% of propaganda is camouflaged in "entertainment". This is how you get fed with memes that make you have an emotional (that is to say, irrational) reaction without ever understanding the facts on any i

  • Kind of stupid. For the sorting hat you just need a binary decision tree, where you get questions until you arrive at a leaf node, which tells you the house. There are already many implementations of this. linux (i think bsdgames) has a animal guessing game, akinator is the web based version of this.

  • It's a kids thing, not a geek thing. Give it a rest.
  • It doesn't even read minds? Even with Watson helping? Phththth!

  • Simply click on THE HUMAN SORTING HAT PROJECT [google.com] to access the cyber-world of sorting hats. Become knowing of the person you are today. Let the hat decide. How many times we wonder you said, gee I wish I had a hat to sort me what to do. Follow that hat! Sorting Hats for everything offered in fun friendly style. The New You is just like the old you,only better! Be wary of inferior product.

    Which chocolate chip cookie are you? Explore these Sorting Hats today.

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