IBM Jeopardy Challenge – Day 1

Tonight was the first night of the IBM Jeopardy Challenge — in fact, it just ended 30 minutes ago.

This first episode in the 3 day exhibition was pretty much a dog and pony show; i.e. a lot of showing off. I’m fine with that though since there was a lot of cool information and it provides a nice introduction for those who haven’t been following Watson obsessively (like me).

When the actual game started, Watson dominated. He had over $3,000 while Brad had about $1,000 and Ken only $200. It was almost silly — Watson knows exactly when he has to chime in, and being a computer, could do so with scary quickness, clearing out the majority of the $100 and $200 questions.

And then the algorithms started to break down. Once the harder questions started coming out, Watson’s confidence went down, giving Ken an Brad a chance to catch up. Another limitation then made itself clear: that of Watson only getting information electronically, with zero audio clues. Ken buzzed in first on the topic of decades, incorrectly guessing ’20s’. Immediately after, Watson’s electronic voice chimed up with ‘1920s’. Chuckling, Brad cleaned up the question with the correct answer of the ‘1910s’.

The episode ended fairly quickly, only one round of Jeopardy played; Double Jeopardy and Final Jeopardy are to be played tomorrow. But the final standings were as follows: Ken with $2,000; Watson with $5,000; and Brad with $5,000.

I can’t wait for tomorrow’s episode, and if it hasn’t been clear, I’m rooting for Watson.

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