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The computer strikes back: 'Jeopardy!' hosts first man vs. machine competition

December 13, 2010 |  9:01 pm

Will robots one day crush our puny human brains? Maybe! And it might happen sooner than we think. On Tuesday, IBM and "Jeopardy!" announced that the quiz show will host its first man vs. machine game, pitting "Jeopardy!" all-star champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter against a frighteningly smart computing system named "Watson," built by a team of IBM scientists. ("Jeopardy!" fans, you can learn more about your new robot overlord in the video above.)

During two matches scheduled to air over Feb. 14, 15 and 16, the show will pose a great challenge to Watson: Namely, can a humble collection of ones and zeroes possibly answer questions with the same speed, ear for irony, and knowledge of obscure Lady Gaga trivia as an actual Homo sapien? Considering that Watson has played more than 50 "sparring games" against former "Jeopardy!" Tournament of Champions contestants and passed the same "Jeopardy!" test that humans take to qualify, we'll guess that the answer is yes. Now it's only a matter of time before Watson trumps our people on "Dancing With the Stars." We'll take "Signs of the Impending Techno-Apocalypse" for $400, Alex!

— Melissa Maerz

 

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