Watson Wins Jeopardy Competition, Anybody Surprised?

As many of you may know, the IBM super-computer “Watson” just finished up a three day competition series on Jeopardy. Watson competed against two of Jeopardy’s most notable legends, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. The competition wasn’t even really close as Watson nearly doubled the scores of Jennings and Rutter. With the victory, Watson was awarded the 1 million dollar prize, which IBM then donated to WorldVision. My question though, is if anyone is really surprised that the computer dominated?

Of course I realize that the immense amount of programming necessary to allow a computer to compete in the very “human” game of Jeopardy is astonishing. Watson is a feat of human engineering, and an amazing technological development. In all seriousness though, did any of us think that us humans had a chance? Personally, the humans did better than I thought they would. I figured Watson was going to answer every question almost instantaneously. Maybe it could have and they just wanted to keep it competitive for the ratings, but I’m not so sure.

The ability to understand human language, puns, intentions and quirks is really awesome. To me though, it seemed like a tough deal for Jennings and Rutter. It reminded me of the kid in elementary school who hit puberty before everybody else. That guy always won all of the sports, and thus it wasn’t even fun to play with him anymore. That is how I viewed Watson in comparison to Jennings and Rutter. The poor guys didn’t even stand a chance. They got “bullied” on national television in front of millions. I don’t really know if anyone expected them to stand a chance against a super-computer designed by a conglomerate of the finest minds at IBM…

Did you think the outcome would be this way?

Image courtesy of: okmagazine.com

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