By Cara Friedman Sorry Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, but you've been beaten by a computer. Over the past 3 days, 2 of Jeopardy's biggest winners faced off against IBM's supercomputer, Watson. This much anticipated 3 day Jeopardy event would once and for all settle the question of who is smarter: Computers or man? What better way to test this theory than having Watson face off with two of the smartest men in the nation on television's most challenging game show? Here's how it went down:
At first, the competition was close. Watson ended the first day tied for first with Rutter; Ken Jennings not too far behind. Day 2 wasn't even close. IBM supercomputer mercilessly dominated the show. Watson's total by the end of Day 2 was doubled the combined efforts of both human competitors. Last night, the last day of the competition, Jennings (74 day champ on Jeopardy) gave humans everywhere hope. At one point, Jennings pulled ahead from the supercomputer. However, in the end IBM's Watson prevailed and was awarded the prize of $1 million dollars. Jennings finished with $24,000, Rutter with $21,600, and Watson with a whopping $77,147. IBM will be donating the winnings to charity.
How is it possible that a computer, made by man, has become more intelligent than its creators? How can a computer compete on Jeopardy? IBM has been creating and developing Watson for many years. The supercomputer has stored hundreds of complex algorithms that helps it understand the English language and answer in the form of a question. Yes, it can even understand the puns and hidden agendas of some of the more complex Jeopardy questions.
Humans everywhere may be thinking, was this really a fair fight? Watson does have the advantage when it comes to hitting the buzzer quickly and consistently. Watson also has an incredible ability to store information that doesn't compare to humans. You may argue that the computer had the advantage, but that really isn't what the competition was about. This 3 day phenomenon was a showcase to show America how far computers have come and what our technological abilities have become. Jennings understood this by jokingly welcoming computer intelligence in his Final Jeopardy answer.
Do you think this is one step back for mankind, or two giant leaps for technological advancements? Share your thoughts in the comments!