Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Jeopardy! and Watson, at last

Posted By on Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Last night, IBM's supercomputer Watson — read more on him here and here — more than held his own against two of Jeopardy!'s most accomplished players: Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. After one round, the computer is tied with Rutter at $5,000, while Jennings has $2,000.

And, while impressive, InformationWeek says Watson made a mistake more than once:

Watson got off to an early lead and was at one point $3,800 ahead of his human competitors after breezing through questions like, "4-letter word for the iron fitting on the hoof of a horse or a card-dealing box in a casino?" Watson, in a soft, synthesized voice, correctly replied, "What is a shoe?"

But, proving that he is no HAL (the omnipotent supercomputer from 2001: A Space Odyssey, whose name consists of the three letters falling directly before I, B, and M in the alphabet), Watson flubbed several times, at one point repeating another contestant's answer that had already been deemed incorrect by legendary quizmaster Alex Trebek.

Catch the second show at 6:30 tonight on, if you're poor like me, CBS' 11.1.

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