Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine

Anyone else watch jeopardy for the last three days? What did you guys think of it?

I’ve been regularly watching both Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune ever since we moved to Canada way back in 1995 with my parents (and my maternal grandfather when he is here)… and it’s never been this interesting and intriguing to watch. I can’t believe how long I’ve been anticipating to watch these three days worth of Jeopardy (especially because if you know me, I don’t watch much TV).

Sure, watching through Ken Jennings’ winning streak and seeing how long it would continue for was something and watching the teen competitions is always fun and uplifting because it highlights their intelligence (it’s nice to know not all American kids are clueless about the world)… but this was something different.

Past Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter played two Jeopardy games across the span of three days against Watson, a computer created by IBM. Jennings holds the show’s record for winning the most consecutive games (74) and Rutter is known for earning the most money in the history of Jeopardy.

In the first game, *SPOILER ALERT*, Watson dominated and beat the other two by a large difference. I believe in the second day of the first game Jennings and Rutter combined only answered five answers!

Watson wasn’t without fault though. Because Watson could neither hear or see he repeated a wrong answer that Jennings had just given. Watson is fed the answer in text form at the same time the information is made available to Jennings and Rutter. Watson then goes through its database for an answer that it finds to be appropriate… and it cannot use the internet. It would only buzz in to respond if his surety met a certain threshold.

Technology continually advances in front of us and it’s amazing to see what will come next. Kind of crazy/scary how much of human actions are or can be replaced by a computer isn’t it? It’s nice in the sense that we can learn so much more much faster — like medical advances or accessing information through the internet (I can’t even remember the last time I went to the library). But take that same thing, and can you imagine how many librarians amongst other professionals lost their jobs because of such advances? Think about self check out lanes in your grocery store (compared to those who had jobs as cashiers before). That’s just one example out of oh so many!

What’s your take on this? The Jeopardy segment and/or the larger scenario.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

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