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Posted on Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Dave!I've been watching the current IBM Jeopardy! Challenge with great interest.

For those not in the know, the game show Jeopardy! has invited its two greatest champions... Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter... to come back for a special tournament where they will match wits with IBM's super-computer, "Watson." It's an interesting challenge, because Watson has to stand on his own... parsing the language of the questions and using an internal database (no internet) to formulate his answers. He then has to physically press a ring-in button, just like a real opponent would...

Watson on Jeopardy with Alex Trebek, Ken Jennings, and Brad Rutter

After the first game, Watson is destroying the competition with a $35,754 total over Rutter ($10,000) and Jennings ($4,800)... even though he missed the Final Jeopardy! question. There's another game to go, but it's pretty clear that Watson's immense collection of data and clever programming has given "him" an unbeatable edge.

What I like best about Watson is his "face" which displays a beautiful animated avatar designed by The Hype Framework. It pulses and moves with a lovely array of line-work to reflect his "thinking" in various ways...

IBM's Watson!

IBM's Watson!

IBM's Watson!

But, as interesting as Watson is at playing Jeopardy, it's OTHER games he might end up playing that worry me. Like... say... GLOBAL THERMONUCLEAR WAR?!?

IBM's Watson says: SHALL WE PLAY A GAME?

IBM's Watson Nukes the Earth!

I, for one, welcome our new Jeopardy! Champion Overlord.


  1. the muskrat says:

    I’ve read about this but haven’t watched it…was really hoping we’d win this round. Go all John Connor and stuff. Oh well.

  2. Avitable says:

    I saw a test run where the humans held their own. I really wanted Jennings to beat Watson, though! I’ll have to look for those on Hulu and watch them.

  3. B.E. Earl says:

    And on tonight’s game, Watson becomes aware and starts learning at an exponential rate.

    We. Are. Doomed.

  4. martymankins says:

    Once Watson is crowned the Jeopardy! king, I expect Jennings and Rutter to go up against Skynet.

  5. Karl says:

    I watched the Nova episode about Watson. Very interesting, the data they pumped into the computer to prepare it. I’ve often wished I had the entire Internet Movie Database in my brain, like Watson does!

  6. Sybil Law says:

    Sooo awesome.
    I am in line behind you, welcoming our new overlord…

  7. Steve in NH says:

    “Global thermonuclear war”? That would be a W.O.P.R.

  8. bo says:

    If they plug Watson into the internet we’ll witness the birth of SkyNet. I’m sure of it. Nevertheless, I’m rooting for it.

    And I especially like the avatar when it gets a question wrong. It seems…embarrassed.

  9. As long as Watson doesn’t become self aware I think we’ll be fine. You do see the silhouettes of Mickey Mouse in that last pic right? It’s not just me?

  10. claire says:

    I saw a piece of it last night which was pretty amusing. Watson was cleaning their clocks.

    My dad sent me this link where you can play against Watson yourself.

    A bit simplified from actual Jeopardy but fun all the same. Been too long since I’ve watched Jeopardy…I missed some q’s because I wasn’t familiar with the category quirks and one subject I just didn’t know. I am pleased to report that my uncle kicked Watson’s ass online though.

  11. hehe looks like I wasn’t the only one that instantly thought Skynet was just around the corner 🙂

  12. Ok, when I saw the “Shall we play a game?” graphic – I almost lost my shit. I could hear the creepy computer voice and everything. 🙂

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