It was an answer that would put him in the lead, but Watson was yet to answer. The correct answer was 'Who is Bram Stoker?' Jennings got it right, but added a paranthetical aside to the supercomputer on his left side.
(I for one welcome our new computer overlords)
As you may or may not know, brainiacs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter (uber-nerds sent here from another planet to embarrass earthlings on 'Jeopardy!') are currently embroiled in a cross-species test of intellect, facing off against the IBM supercomputer, Watson.
Yes, we've reached a point in our culture that robots and machines should be considered another species altogether. On the surface, this might seem like just another TV gimmick designed to draw in viewers -- no different than a "very special" episode of 'Two and a Half Men' or those "Who can eat more hot dogs -- a fat guy or a bear being starved in captivity?" shows -- a closer look reveals a competition, the implications of which could fundamentally alter the course of humanity.
The future of mankind may basically come down to a Daily Double about President Van Buren.
On its second day on the show, Watson blew the competition out of the water, and seemed more human than ever. Is this the origins of Skynet? Or maybe Watson is a beta version of a Cylon.
Watson made an educated guess at one point, and even got it right. But he proved a savvy player of the game in Final Jeopardy. Up substantially over his opponents, Watson wasn't sure of his answer, so it chose to play it safe with a paltry wager.
Answer: The name of the supercomputer specifically designed by IBM to mimic a human's intelligence-gathering and reasoning skills. And it is competing on 'Jeopardy!' next week against super-champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.
Starting Monday, Feb. 14 (syndicated, check listings), Jennings and Rutter will match their vast stores of trivia knowledge against Watson in a three-day, two-game tournament. The grand total winner of the tournament gets $1 million with $300,000 for second place and $200,000 for third. The two humans have vowed to donate half of their winnings to charity and IBM will donate its entire pot.
He was very nice and cordial, but there was a weird omniousness in his letter, almost a twinge of fear in his voice. Something tells me if we had spoken over the phone or in person, his voice would have cracked more than a teenager tenor in training.
Now I know why. IBM held its first public demonstration of Watson against Jennings and 'Jeopardy!' champion Brad Rutter, who holds the show's record for the most money won and the computer absolutely cleaned both of their clocks.
IBM is developing a new computer system that can compete on TV's Jeopardy! by digesting the show's questions, buzzing in and answering in the famous question format.
The system is being developed in the same vein as "Deep Blue," the computer that defeated chess champion Gary Kasparov. The Jeopardy! system nicknamed "Watson" is part of IBM's ongoing attempt to overtake humanity by whooping humanity's ass at their own games. An IBM spokesman estimated humanity's spirit will finally be broken when they perfect a computer system that can beat the world's greatest Chutes and Ladders player.
Baker Street Irregulars, not to be confused with the live-action Disney movie The North Avenue Irregulars, is coming to BBC1 in 2007. The two-part family drama is based on the Sherlock Holmes book A Study in Scarlett. The Irregulars are a group of street kids who must solve the mysterious disappearance of two members of their gang while Holmes, accused of murder, is placed under house arrest. Holmes will be played by Jonathan Pryce and his partner Watson will be portrayed by Bill Paterson. Pryce is well-recognized by American audiences, appearing in such films as Brazil and Glengarry Glen Ross. Production on the series begins later this month. Producers hope the new program will make the character of Sherlock Holmes appealing again to a modern audience.
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