Jeopardy!: I’ll Take Man Vs. Machine for $200, Alex

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The world’s greatest game-show gets set to pit man against machine. It’s not too much of an understatement to claim that the very future of humanity rests on the result. (via Techland)

NewsFeed has just about gotten used to high-level chess matches taking place in this fashion but required some persuading that this was a good move, for our love of Jeopardy! knows no bounds. In case you’re unaware, two of Jeopardy!‘s former human champions (until now, the only kind we’ve had), Ken Jennings and and Brad Rutter, will be taking on the charmingly named “Watson,” a computer program developed by IBM’s artificial intelligence team.

(See a TIME video with the host of Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek.)

“Watson” is actually so-called in honor of IBM’s founder, Thomas J. Watson, and he’ll be represented by a round avatar (it’s what he would have wanted). “Watson”‘s also going to have to be considerably smarter than the average computer because Jeopardy! is known for its wordplay, puns, riddles and ability to answer questions lightening fast, which makes one wonder whether any computer could cope. “Watson” has been put through its paces in 50 test games against past Jeopardy! champions but nobody has said what the win/loss record was.

(See where Jeopardy! ranks in TIME’s top 10 game-show moments.)

What we do know is this: the matches will be aired between Feb. 14-16 with the victor getting a $1 million prize. IBM has confirmed it would give its winnings to charity, while Jennings and Rutter said they’d give half of their prize money away. In which case, strike an early blow for “Watson,” who is clearly twice as generous as his foes. But will he be twice as smart? (via AP)

See more at Techland.

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