If you missed out on the man-versus-machine match on “Jeopardy!” earlier this week, we humans basically got our asses kicked. Watson, the IBM supercomputer designed for the two-game match, won with $77,147. Former “Jeopardy!” champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter finished with $24,000 and $21,600, respectively.
Everyone involved seemed to recognize this as a historic event in computing, and if you haven’t read Jennings’s chat on the Washington Post website from Tuesday or his piece on Slate yesterday, you’d be entertained by both. A sampling from the former:
Q: I was suprised that you only got through the first round. I found too much of the first night devoted to IBM, like a long commercial. What is the format of the next two nights?
A: The contest is two games stretched out over three nights: another half game tomorrow, with the final game Wednesday. In addition to giving IBM a nice infomercial spot (if you buy a Watson 1.0 license for home use, you also get a Watson mouse pad and some steak knives!) the documentary spots help explain how the contest came together, why this truly represents an AI breakthrough, and so forth.
It reminds me of the “human interest” stuff that always clogs up Olympic footage. Revealed tonight: Watson hopes to win these games for its adorable little sister, who has leukemia!
Other computer conquests of humans in games include Deep Blue’s controversial chess win against Garry Kasparov in 1997 and the CPU opponent against me every time I play Madden. How does that damn game ALWAYS come up with 2 touchdowns in the last 1:15? Total bologna.
Watch Double and Final Jeopardy! of Game Two after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »