Wednesday February 16, 2011 11:01 pm
Jeopardy Exhibition Ends, Ken Jennings Welcomes New Overlord
In this week’s three-day exhibition, Jeopardy pit two of its finest minds -- champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter -- against the newest artificial mind designed by IBM. The supercomputer Watson took on the two champs in a two-game session that left the human contestants battling for a moment just to buzz in as each question was fired out by Alex Trebek.
At the end of the two-game, three-day session, Watson dominated. The computer scored a sum of $77,147 (the total comes from Watson’s odd penchant for betting off dollar amounts in Double and Final Jeopardy rounds), with Jennings scoring $24,000 and Rutter $21,600 at the end of two Final Jeopardy rounds. For his Final Jeopardy answer (which he got correct), Jennings added a personal message: “I for one welcome our new computer overlords.”
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His statement got a laugh from the watching crowd . . . but it’s possible a chill shuddered down more than one spine. Watson’s quick responses and the little additives (he often knew when to say “finish the category” and once announced that he would “take a guess”) made him far too personable for a machine.
It’s difficult to watch him in action without envisioning a Terminator-like man versus machine clash looming in the not-so-distant future.
By virtue of the win, Watson has gained a cool $1 million from Jeopardy, the sum of which will be donated to non-profit organizations World Vision and World Community Grid. Jennings will take home $300,000, Rutter $200,000.
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