IBM’s Watson Plays Jeopardy Day 1

The IBM supercomputer Watson  developed to play Jeopardy made its debut against two of the greatest players in the game’s history, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.  In the first of a three game exhibition, the match ended in a deadlock between Brad and Watson with Ken trailing, but on the board.

Watson got off to a quick start confidently answering question after question in a voice that sounded like Data from Star Trek The Next Generation.  Watson is clearly a Beatles fan nearly running the board category about songs by the Fab 4, answers like who is Jude and Eleanor Rigby.  However, Watson did make some mistakes once even buzzing in with the same wrong answer Ken gave, really showing the limitations of its intelligence.

After the first pause in the action Ken and Brad seemed to adopt the strategy of ringing in instantly to beat Watson to the punch which was a risky strategy that mostly paid off, given that there were only a few wrong answers delivered in the round and believe it or not Watson answered incorrectly four times, Ken twice.  I don’t think Brad made any mistakes at all.  Many of the points scored by the champions came when Watson failed to buzz in.  We saw a graphic that gave Watson’s three best choices and if it was not highly likely that one of them was correct, Watson passed.  On these questions, Ken and Brad mopped up.

Stayed tuned for a review of round two.

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