OT: Jeopardy - Humans vs. Machine

Submitted by Bodogblog on February 14th, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Starts tonight at 7:30.  Fascinating that this computer ("Watson", after IBM founder) will be able to understand human idioms and natural language.  It's quite complex if you've ever studied linguistics.  Jennings seems like a bit of a tool, but I watched almost every one of his episodes during that long run.  Brad Rutter is the other contestant, the record holder for highest cumulative winnings. 

Watson will likely be the forerunner of technologies that affect our lives for several decades.  Bonus opportunity for all those folks posting "Go Big Blue" to actually be correct in their rooting interest, and be the first to bow down to the machines.  I side with John Connor.  



February 14th, 2011 at 7:50 PM ^

Its going to become self-aware and then we are all seriously effed. 

I am not looking forward to living underground to hide from the machines and nuclear fallout. 


February 14th, 2011 at 7:52 PM ^

In San Angelo, TX, JEOPARDY! is only on @1500. And it's impossible to view online. Erego, I'm missing the rise of the machines. I AM ANGAR!

Also, I watched NOVA last week where they were talking about the programming involved to get Watson to answer questions. Those guys at Big Blue are ridiculous. Also funny how the practice host they had kept making fun of Watson, and some of the programmers took it personally that he was making fun of a machine that couldn't defend itself.


February 14th, 2011 at 7:59 PM ^

at the end of round one.  Perhaps we've learned that dogs can sniff them out? 

EDIT: looks like that's it for today.  Double Jeopardy resumes tomorrow.  A lot of the time this half hour took up explaining how Watson worked.  Fascinating, I'll be tuning in the next 2 days.  At least the humans landed a few blows.  I wonder when Morpheus shows up


February 14th, 2011 at 8:03 PM ^

My favorite part was when Watson said the same incorrect answer as Jennings and Trebeck said "Ken already said that..." with so much disdain and Jennings gives the computer a funny look


February 14th, 2011 at 8:17 PM ^

I'd like to know how they're timing Watson's receipt of the clues with the players' receipt of them.  Watson apparently gets it as a text message, more or less.  It seemed like Watson was almost never out-buzzed, so to speak, when it was confident in its answer.   I wonder if it thinks faster than the players after it receives the clues or if it receives or understands the clues faster.  It could be all of the above, of course. 


February 14th, 2011 at 8:51 PM ^

The way I understand it, he receives it the same instant as it is displayed on the board. Humans have to deal with reading/hearing, Watson has to parse the text.

EDIT: And I just used "he" to describe Watson. The machines have already won.


February 14th, 2011 at 9:05 PM ^

My guess is that Watson reads the text faster than Trebek and so starts searching its memory for answers faster than the human players.  I wonder if the human players would be well-served to try to ignore Trebek and just read the text of the clues...Of course, I may be looking for a reason why Watson has some unfair advantage.  I always hated it as a kid when John Henry was defeated by the steam engine. 


February 14th, 2011 at 9:24 PM ^

I think that's just part of the experiment. They're not giving him an "advantage," they just had to constrain the problem somehow. Computer vision/voice recognition weren't the problems they were trying to tackle.

Interesting to try to compare the two though. Completely different how a person comes to an answer and how a computer does.


February 14th, 2011 at 8:29 PM ^

They're now making computers that are better at human things than humans are. That seems really irrational. People are phasing themselves out. If computers can think better than we do, the only thing we'll be better at is irrational behaivor.

... Until they invent a Psychotic computer.

I'm surprised Watson is able to deal with the idioms and play on words that comes into some questions.


February 14th, 2011 at 9:40 PM ^

Consider the recent history of artificial intelligence.  Scientists have created machines that play checkers perfectly--no matter the situation on the board, the algorithm always selects the ideal move.  Machines have established long-term superiority over humans in chess.  Even the best human grandmasters can hope for little more than a draw against computer opponents with practically unlimited RAM, processing speed, and access to databases of every chess game that's ever been played.  Now Jeopardy is falling.  Even if the humans prevail in this match, 99% of all human contestants on Jeopardy would fall to Watson in a similar matchup.  It's only a matter of time before the machines take Jeopardy away from us.


February 14th, 2011 at 10:20 PM ^

we are not robots. En masse, we are self-repairing, self-replicating, work-producing machines. Perhaps we we were left here to condition the planet a certain way. If you could build a factory with robots that made widgets, performed maintenance on each other, reproduced improved models when obsolete, and so on, why wouldn't you? We may simply be the the lowest cost complex machine. Watson takes up enormous space, isn't mobile, and can't do things like build aqueducts to clean its own waste. Perhaps the gods are capitalists
<br>So cheer up