Geek Stuff

Friday Fun: Watch the IBM Watson Computer Against Jeopardy Champions




  1. Juniperbush

    February 18, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    “I for one welcome our new computer overlords -Ken Jennings” -Michael Scott

  2. Nigel Green

    February 19, 2011 at 12:13 am

    Are we to assume that Watson’s input of the question is the same as the 2 contestants – by audio and vision – not really likely – audio maybe. At what point does watson start its processing on each question?

    • Watson_IBM

      February 19, 2011 at 6:43 am

      Questions are sent at the same time that Trebek starts reading them, so in terms of processing time it is a fair match. The questions are sent via a text file, Watson cannot see or hear.
      However Watson does have an unfair buzzer, and you can see Ken Jennings frustration at this. Though unbalanced, an early buzzer doesnt discredit Watson. The point behind these matches is to help IBM both improve accuracy and showcase their work thus far.

      • MrGroove

        February 19, 2011 at 2:04 pm

        So how do the buzzers work? Is it not the first time person to buzz wins?

        • Watson_IBM

          February 19, 2011 at 4:09 pm

          Essentially, you have to buzz the second Trebek stops talking. This is also signaled by a white light appearing on your podium. If you buzz early it locks you out temporarily, but if you buzz too late someone else will get it. Watson is able to time this perfectly every time, though periodically the white light will lag behind a fraction of a second. Since Watson is programmed to respond to the light circuit activating, it gives the humans a chance to answer first if they can get it in that 0.5 second window, or if Watson doesn’t know the answer for sure he will wait to respond.

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