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Why It Is Easy to Teach a Computer to Learn How to Sit than a Dog

By now, I am still pumped by the fact how Person of Interest managed to get me to the edge of my seat. This episode title “If-Else-Then” proves to be something more than just your average POI episode. If I remember it right, the show’s creator always to tie up their episode titles that gives viewers what to expect on the episode. Being a computer graduate, I often find myself tackling with computer jargons and POI’s way of crafting a show that I can easily connect has made me fall in love with the series.

Going back to the episode I just watched, it pretty much sums up to the episode to what it really is. First of all, to give you a short background for those of you who haven’t watched the show. Person of Interest is a series about how an intelligent computer called the “machine” can know everything that is happening around New York (or perhaps the whole world) through the data it gathers and analyzes from surveillance cameras, electronic communications and other types of information from all over the world.

What I love about this episode is the scene where Finch, Reese, Root, and Fusco were force to retreat to a room chased by Decima’s goons. A timer then starts ticking down to zero, the screen goes into a slow mo, like one of those matrix inspired scenes and the machine suddenly evaluates their option on how to get out of their sticky situation.

The scene then shifted to a couple of years way back in time in which Harold teaches the Machine on how to play chess. In this scene, he tells the machine that every chess piece you move represents different number of situations on how the outcome of the game will play. Finch also taught the Machine how chess pieces work and their role of the game. Stating that the most powerful one is the Queen and sometimes it takes her to be “sacrificed” in order for the player to gain leverage from a certain situation or perhaps trade in a pawn for a more powerful piece.

However, due to the Machine’s technological prowess it has technically become so advance that its AI is almost like that of a human. In which Finch constantly reminds it that people are not chess pieces that can be pawns to be sacrificed but rather it has to consider that humans are important and hold a certain value.

Fast forward back to the real world, the counter continuously ticks down to the last second and we see the Machine choosing the appropriate option on how Finch, Reese, Root and Fusco can escape safely through the use of simulations.


A Titan Super Computer Built By Cray at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for cool looking science projects! Yeah! Science!!


In actual computing, the scene depicted is quite accurate in representing a computer that can process and analyze data quickly. That even a single second or shall we put it nano second, it can quickly come up with a solution to a problem.

I’m satisfied how the writers managed to get it right with the facts and how it connects to the Machine’s understanding of a chess game to the real world.  And how it manages to create 20-30 minute simulations in a span of 1-2 seconds in real time. And being able to decide which the best option for the gang to escape.

If super computers will become mainstream, well I wouldn’t have a hard time teaching my dog to sit than me teaching a computer how to play chess.

P.S I highly recommend that you watch Person of Interest 🙂 if you are into tech stuff