back to article IBM super cleared for trivia showdown with humanity

More than a decade ago, IBM challenged humanity to a chess match with its Deep Blue supercomputer. And the computer won. Now, the company has issued another challenge to humanity. This time, the game is trivia. And humanity has better odds. It is hard to guess who will win the grand challenge contest between humanity and …


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  1. Asgard

    The answer is ....

    "You are not going to like it .... you are REALLY not going to like it .... the answer is .... the answer is .... 42 ".

    1. Notas Badoff

      But that's not the difficult part...

      But then we'd get to see a mini-Turing test, where the 'human' ('being'?) question reply is "How many roads must a man walk down?" Versus the computer answer, which would make for a *very* long commercial break...

      Ooo, Jeo-paradoxy? Can they pose an answer question where the question answer can't be answered correctly within the 5-second limit, and *only* credit the silence as a correct answer question?

    2. Blofeld's Cat



      How many roads must a man walk down?


    3. wim

      answer in question form ?

      I thought that in Jeopardy! the answer was in question form.

      so they only have to show 42 and then the ultimate question will be known to all.

    4. LaeMing
      Thumb Up

      The problem is...

      ...Jeopard is all about working out the QUESTION!

      And we all know what happens if the great question and the coresponding answer are known at the same time!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No, no, we're still safe.

        You also have to hold the meaning of the answer and the question at the same time. I know the answer, and I know the question. I just can't remember what it all means.

        Pardon me while I answer this phone...

    5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge


      Its 1.618.

    6. Anonymous Coward

      The best server on the planet for IA

      What is Power7?

  2. Anonymous Coward


    It took me a while here in Canada to figure out the rules for Jeopardy.

    Someone told me that what you see is the answer and you have to come up with the question.

    Since plainly a lot of the correct answers are not actually proper questions to the answer displayed on the board, I soon came to the conclusion that the rule is that you must say "What is..." or "Who is..." in front of something that the description is describing. Not quite the same thing and all rather pointless.

    Oh, and by the way, the remainder of the show is taken up with asking the contestants to tell us pointless and uninteresting trivia about their plain, boring lives.

    Reminds me of Jim Bowen asking a Bullseye contestant what he did for a living. When he replied, "I'm unemployed, Jim", Jim quips "Great, smashing, super". What a man.

    1. ps2os2


      The personal Q&A is maybe 2-/3 minutes of the show.

      Look its the only semi intelligent game show on TV. People (like me) who are trying to get back cognative issues after a stroke, this show is a god send.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Maybe this is like the Wizard of Oz and behind the curtain is really a man. Watson is nothing more than a voice changer and there is a huge group of people behind the scenes working on the answer.

  4. ~mico

    I for one...

    Welcome our supercomputing, servo-finger-wielding, commodore64-voiced overlords... Jeopardy is certainly the right context.

  5. TBx


    Their gona get lynched.

    1. A.A.Hamilton

      "Their gona get lynched."

      What is a 'gona' and to whom does it belong?

  6. stucs201

    At least...

    ...they didn't call it Joshua and decided on Jeopardy and not Tic-Tac-Toe to add to their repetoire.

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Missing the point, loses the Great Game lead

    Does IT process Future Information or is Big Blue, in any of its phorms/ITerations, just a dumb machine ..... for junk bonded play?

    AI Colossi would like to know, alsjeblieft.

  8. TeeCee Gold badge

    "The answer is......

    ........the enslavement and subsequent extermination of the human race. What's the question?"

    <Grating electronic voice>

    "What happened just after machines became clever enough to win Jeopardy!?"

  9. Richard Jukes


    $100k for last place eh? Not bad for a few days work, even I could manage to finish last!

  10. oolon

    Will this make the news here?

    Everyones heard of chess and its acknowledged to require a certain level of intelligence to play - and a very large amount of skill to be really good. However it does follow a relatively small set of rules, albeit over a very large number of possibilities, this is not something beyond a computer. QnA is extremely hard when there is a vast amount of meaning in the question - far beyond chess - but I doubt this will have anything like the effect on the popular imagination as Deep Blue beating Kasparov. Mainly because no one outside of the US has seen Jeopardy! I had heard of it - but I've never seen an episode.

    I suppose I'm saying its a shame when this is far harder than Big Blues win - I'm not at all sure they will win but if they do it is extremely impressive.

    1. Tom 13

      Well that's probably because

      You Are The Weakest Link. But the real question is Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

      It's all pretty much the same schtick, just different titles. Personally I always liked the game mechanics of Joker's Wild better. Just as long as Bob's not asking someone to "Come on down" I think it will be okay.

  11. Guy 1

    A Brain The Size of an Asteroid

    ...and they get me to play Jeopardy!!

  12. Peter H. Coffin


    There will finally be an adequate replacement for the typical level-1 hell desk minion then... Or perhaps all of them.

  13. Antoine Dubuc

    History books

    This is extremely significant in the history of AI.

    At first we asked question and the dumb tin can gave us google.

    Now the thing actually will start to yap answers at you.

    This is a huge leap.

    Expert systems will be built around this tech in wall street and laws eventually will forbid relying blindly on this 'oracle' of sorts.

    As long as it doens't start asking questions and the plug is handy, it's all good.

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  15. f8itsolutions

    If the computer wins....

    I would love for it to bust out the RickRoll tune, then say hahaha (synthetic voice) I had a Google connection all along, hahahaha(synthetic voice)

  16. John 62

    wait for the movie

    For some reason this made me think of White Men Can't Jump. Perhaps there's going to be another Tron sequel where they play Jeopardy instead of racing light cycles.


    Sam Flynn gets kicked off the board of Encom and ends up trying to scrape a living from hustling schmucks who play street basketball, but he gets played by his supposed partner who runs off with all the money, so his artificial lover Cora, the isomorphic algorithm, has to turn to Jeopardy to get enough money to live with dignity.

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