Tag Archives: Watson

Ken Jennings on losing to Watson

Former Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings writes about his experience losing to IBM’s Watson on Jeopardy!.

But there’s no shame in losing to silicon, I thought to myself as I greeted the (suddenly friendlier) team of IBM engineers after the match. After all, I don’t have 2,880 processor cores and 15 terabytes of reference works at my disposal—nor can I buzz in with perfect timing whenever I know an answer. My puny human brain, just a few bucks worth of water, salts, and proteins, hung in there just fine against a jillion-dollar supercomputer.

Jeopardy! to pit humans against IBM machine

At first the idea of pitting humans against computers on ‘Jeopardy!’ sounds like a fair fight. But given the linguistic complexity of some of the clues, I think Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter could give Watson a run for IBM’s money. Just think about the number of times you’ve seen contestants misunderstand the category and/or the clues themselves and keep in mind that understanding human languages has been a tough problem for computers since the beginning and you’ll see what I mean. Should be worth watching, no matter what.