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Skynet...ummm...Watson to compete on Jeopardy!

The producers of Jeopardy! and IBM are in discussions to allow an IBM supercomputer known as Watson to compete on the show against human competition. According to The New York Times, if Watson is able to beat the human competition the field of artificial intelligence will have made a leap forward.

IBM has had success in the past building super computers that were able to best human competitors. In 1997, IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer was able to defeat chess world champion Garry Kasparov in a match.

The difference between chess where all pieces have a known value and Jeopardy! is that the trivia questions asked in the game show have a wide and greatly varying range of relationships. These relationships are open to interpretation and the interpretations have to be made very quickly.

The IBM researchers who created Watson -- an homage to IBM founder Thomas J. Watson Sr. -- have said that they are not confident yet that their creation could compete well on the show. The New York Times reports that human champions are able to provide correct response 85% of the time to questions asked.

David A. Ferrucci, an AI researcher at IBM said, "The big goal is to get computers to be able to converse in human terms. And we’re not there yet.”

The contest is an effort by the IBM engineers to choose "grand challenges" that will help them make significant technical progress in AI. The rules proposed for the contest will force Watson to emulate all human qualities. Questions posed to Watson will be in text format while players will see text and hear the questions spoken by the show's host.

The computer will offer answers to the question via a synthesized voice and will choose its own follow up categories. IBM says that for the show, the computer would not be connected to the internet. How Watson will be presented and what gender the computer will be are under consideration. A screen and a projected avatar are one consideration.

Jeopardy! executive producer Harry Friedman said, "We’ve only begun to talk about it. We all agree that it shouldn’t look like Robby the Robot."

IBM will move a Blue Gene supercomputer to L.A. for the show.

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By Chernobyl68 on 4/27/2009 7:18:55 PM , Rating: 0
Alex Trebek: Welcome back to "Celebrity Jeopardy". Before we begin the Double Jeopardy round, I'd like to ask our contestants once again to please refrain from using ethnic slurs. That said, let's take a look at the scores. Sean Connery has set a new "Jeopardy" record with -$230,000.
Sean Connery: You think you're pretty smart, don't you, Trebek? What with your Diego mustache and your greasy hair!
Alex Trebek: Look, what did I just say about ethnic slurs? From "3rd Rock From the Sun", French Stewart in second place with -$17,000.
French Stewart: I'm a late bloomer, Alex, and in Double Jeopardy, I'm gonna bloom!
Alex Trebek: Sure you will. And finally, back again, Burt Reynolds in a commanding lead with $14.
Burt Reynolds: Hey. Hey, ah.. check out the podium. Look at this.
Alex Trebek: Mr. Reynolds has apparently changed his name to Turd Ferguson.
Burt Reynolds: Yeah, that's right. Turd Ferguson. It's a funny name.
Alex Trebek: Great. Let's take a look at the final board. And the categories are: "Potent Potables"; "Sharp Things"; "Movies That Start with the Word Jaws"; "A Petit Déjeuner" - that category is about French phrases, so let's just skip it.
Burt Reynolds: Hey, uh, I speak a little French. You're an assbite, pardon my French. [ does a quick laugh ]
French Stewart: My name's French!
Burt Reynolds: Yeah, well, who gives a damn?
Alex Trebek: Moving on.. "Animal Sounds"; "Condiments"; and finally, "Your Ass or a Hole in the Ground". Mr. Reynolds, unfortunately you're in the lead, so we'll start with you.
Burt Reynolds: Yeah, I'll take the condom thing for, uh.. eight thou.
Alex Trebek: That's "Condiments". For $400. "This condiment is made from mustard seeds". [ Stewart buzzes in ] French Stewart.
French Stewart: The answer, of course, is onions. I'll take "Condiments" for $800, thank you.. [ buzzer sounds ]
Alex Trebek: That's not the right answer. [ Reynolds buzzes in ] Burt Reynolds.
Burt Reynolds: That's not my name.
Alex Trebek: Okay. Turd Ferguson.
Burt Reynolds: [ laughs ] Yeah, what do ya want?
Alex Trebek: You buzzed in!
Burt Reynolds: No I didn't.
Alex Trebek: Yes you did!
Burt Reynolds: Yeah, well, that's your opinion.
Alex Trebek: I hate my job. The answer was "mustard". Mustard is made from mustard seeds. Mr. Reynolds, it's still your board.
Burt Reynolds: Yeah well, why don't you give me, ah.. why don'tcha give me Ape Tit for $200.
Alex Trebek: It's not "Ape Tit." It's A Petit.. [ shakes head ] ..never mind! Let's just go to "Animal Sounds" for $600. This is the sound a doggy makes. [ Connery buzzes in ] Mr. Connery.
Sean Connery: Moo. [ buzzer sounds ]
Alex Trebek: No.
Sean Connery: Well, that's the sound your mother made last night! [ laughs ]
Alex Trebek: Okay, that's not necessary. [ Reynolds buzzes in ] Burt Reynolds.
Burt Reynolds: Who is, ah, Scooby Doo? [ buzzer sounds ]
Alex Trebek: No.
Burt Reynolds: That was a funny dog, Scooby Doo. He drove around in a van and, ah, solved mysteries.
Alex Trebek: That is incorrect.
Burt Reynolds: No, that's correct. I remember he had a pal, Scrappy Doo.
Alex Trebek: No. [ Stewart buzzes in ] French Stewart, the sound a dog makes.
French Stewart: Um.. [ breathes ] ..who is John Caffney and the Beaver Brown Band, thank you very much, I'll take Animal Sounds for $800 please.. [ buzzer sounds ]
Alex Trebek: No! Good Lord! We would've accepted "bow-wow" or "ruff"!
Sean Connery: Ah, ruff. Just the way your mother likes it Trebek!
Alex Trebek: Come on, that's way out of line, but.. [ Reynolds walks up to Trebek wearing a large hat ] Mr. Reynolds, what are you doing?
Burt Reynolds: Ha-ha! Yeah, I found this backstage, an over-sized hat. It's funny.
Alex Trebek: No, it's not!
Burt Reynolds: Sure it is. It's funny. It's funny because it's ah, bigger than, ah.. [ clears throat ] know, a normal hat.
Alex Trebek: Uh, I see that. Get back to your podium.
Burt Reynolds: [ laughs ] Take a look at that!
Alex Trebek: Yeah, I see it. Go back to your podium. [ Reynolds goes back to his podium ] It's not funny. What's going on? Okay, let's just move on to Final Jeopardy. And the category is.. you know what? I tell you what, just write a number. Any number, any number and you win. [ music starts ] We'll accept any number, any number at all.. a one, or a two, or a three, or how about a four? It's that simple, I know you can do this. [ music ends ] Let's start with French Stewart, who's grinning like an idiot. You look pretty sure of yourself. Think you've got the right answer?
French Stewart: Yes, I'm pretty sure of it, Alex.
Alex Trebek: Well, all you had to do was write down a number. And you wrote.. [ shows Stewart's screen ] ..Threeve. A combination of three and five. [ Stewart nods ] Simply stunning. And you wagered.. [ shows his wager ] ..Texas with a dollar sign in front of it. I'm speechless.
French Stewart: No, I did not get the answer from anyone else, it all came from Mr. Stewart's noggin.. [ points at his head ] ..up here.
Alex Trebek: That's beautiful. Mr. Reynolds..
Burt Reynolds: Yeah, don't bother, I didn't write anything.
Alex Trebek: Good work, all right. Finally, Mr. Connery.. the category was Numbers, and you wrote.. [ shows his screen ] ..a letter V. Well, I tell you what, my friend - V is a Roman numeral, so despite your best efforts, you answered correctly. Let's see what you wagered.. [ wager is revealed to use the V as part of a K in "Suck it Trebek" ] "Suck it Trebek". [ Connery laughs wildly ] That's all the time we have. Good night, my.. [ Reynolds places over-sized hat on Trebek's head ] Would you get that off of me? [ pulls it off his own head ]
[ fade out ]

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