Feb 16, 2011

Machine wins at trivia, waits to unleash the Cylons.

The wife was flipping through channels last night. Yes I do let her have the power of the remote. Yes I'm comfortable with my masculinity.

Anyways she realized Jeopardy was on. Knowing I'm a fan of the show she graciously flipped to it. We were in the middle of the first round when we saw some kind of machine called Watson answering questions against Ken Jennings and some other guy I didn't recall. The both of us were confused as we were unfamiliar with this premise. Was it buzzing in for audience members? What was up with the percentages? Why does it talk all creepy?

We were brainstorming what the hell was going on, but the intro before the second round answered all of our questions. It became an infomercial for IBM, the creator of Watson, and instead of detailing the creation and function of the machine it became an obvious promo targeted towards investors. Disappointing as that was, it was still an interesting device.

Watson was kicking all kinds of ass until the Final Jeopardy question arose. The category was US Cities. The answer was something along the lines of 'This city's largest airport is named after a WWII hero, and it's second largest is named after a WWII battle'. Both of the humans guessed correctly with Chicago, but Watson's answer was Toronto. Toronto, a city not even located in the US was the machine's best answer.

Still Watson swept the floor with the humans and had so much money it was clearly the winner by a large margin even with it's incorrect answer at Final Jeopardy. At no point did it ask about the whereabouts of Sarah Conner so I guess the human race is safe....for now....

"I don't gamble, because winning a hundred dollars doesn't give me great pleasure. But losing a hundred dollars pisses me off." - Alex Trebek


wigsf3 said...

I, for one, wait for the machines to take over. Humans have screwed up governing the Earth for thousands of years. So, either give up control to the machines, or the monkeys.

Kelli said...

I've been waiting for over a month to watch the "Watson challenge". Mainly because I'm a Jeopardy! junkie and secondly because I was curious to see if the computer could "compute" the innuendos with the clues.

Last night, Watson wasn't doing so hot until round 2. But in the end IBM won the $1-million prize. My conclusion: Watson's response time on the buzzer was quicker than the Ken & the other dude. That is what gave him/it an advantage. Otherwise, I believe Ken would have wiped the floor with it.