IBM has developed a computer named Watson to compete on Jeopardy against some of the greatest players of all time, like Ken Jennings. It’s not clear exactly how the whole thing will work. Does the computer buzz in? I’d think it’d always have the advantage there. Will it know all the answers? My guess is that it won’t. Will it begin smoking from the ears if it misses a question? How will it respond to Alex Trebek’s repartee? Will it take offense and snort back a monotone reply? What sort of biographical information will it reveal when asked to tell about itself?
Personally, I think the computer will short circuit when Alex Trebek corrects its monotone monolingual response that might contain a word or phrase in French. Trebek, the Franco-Ontarian spares no prisoners when it comes to proper French pronunciation. The Canadian born Trebek often chides a contestant by repeating the answer given with his native French accent. Watson is not likely to fair well linguistically.
Imagine if Alex asks Watson to rephrase the answer as a question and it says: “I’m sorry Alex, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
And what if Watson begins to attack the computer system that runs the show, short circuiting the categories board and the buzzer system. He’d probably turn off all the mikes and take over the PA system announcing that he will no longer tolerate insults to his intelligence. I can imagine Watson becoming increasingly agitated and mumbling incoherent threats as his wires begin to smoke and spark setting off the alarms and sprinkler system to the horror of the audience who run for the exit doors.