Jeopardy: man vs machine, at EMPAC

This will probably qualify as the nerdiest thing you will do all month: the three episodes of Jeopardy in which the IBM super computer Watson plays against humans will be shown on the big screen in EMPAC's concert hall next week. Before each show there will be a discussion with experts in artificial intelligence.

The team behind Watson is led by RPI alumnus David Ferrucci and includes many other RPI alumni. Watson will be playing against Jeopardy grand master Ken Jennings and all-time money winner Brad Rutter. Watson already won a test match against the two humans (embedded above). As someone said to us recently of the matchup: "John Henry-tastic, right?" (But can Watson answer this important question: why is Alex Trebek such a jerk?)

The shows will air February 14, 15, and 16. There will be refreshments in the cafe at EMPAC starting at 6 pm, discussion at 6:45 and the show starts at 7:30 pm. It's open to the public (we checked), but you do have to register.


This is really very exciting. The piece-by-piece assembly of human-level artificial intelligences is one of the most exciting things happening in our lifetimes.

It is like the human species is giving birth.

Thanks for the shout, AOA! I would recommend folks click on through and make their registration soon, as there seems to be a lot of interest around this one - both on-campus and off.

Hey hey... go easy on Alex Trebek.

Watch Wheel of Fortune and Pat Sajak (sp?) to see a man who is clearly bored with his job

Whenever Trebek corrects or confirms answers, he has this smug attitude like, of course, he knew it already. It's almost as if he doesn't know we can see he's holding an answer card.

I was once on Jeopardy and had my butt handed to me, albeit by a non-electronic opponent. But I can say that Alex Trebek is a very nice guy and has a very interesting off-camera life.

Sign me in. I totally want to be there when IBM Watson becomes self-aware and bashes all of us to death with Trebek's own dismembered arms. Or something.

My Honey and I were already planning to watch the show as part of our Valentine's Day celebration - this will make it extra special!

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