Does Brad look nervous?
On Monday, February 14, IBM’s newest supercomputer, Watson, will challenge (and undoubtedly destroy) Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, Jeopardy’s biggest money winners and power players in the world of general knowledge trivia.
Ken and Brad definitely know their stuff, but Watson, with it’s (his?) 15 terabytes of RAM (that’s 15,728,640 MB of RAM), is about to prove once and for all that humans will soon kneel and cower before their awesome metal overlords.
This battle for global trivia supremacy will answer some important questions about computers. Can they understand the complexities and subtleties of human language? Can they decipher nuance and answer questions that are asked in less-than-straightforward ways? Can they understand wordplay? Puns? Can they remember to answer in the form of a question?
It will also answer some important questions about humans. Will humans beg for mercy or will we simply become squishy, biological obstacles in the computer’s rise to inevitable world trivia dominance? Will we squirm or chuckle uncomfortably when we realize that Watson, besides knowing the number of dots on two dice (42), will have the general knowledge needed to unseat humanity from the throne of trivia supremacy?
IBM is pretty sure that Watson’s 2800 processor cores can handle this challenge; they’ve already matched it (him?) against some of Jeopardy’s lesser challengers, with hilariously horrifying results. Watson crushed. You would too if you had 15 terabytes of random access memory.
Watch a video of some of the rehearsal “highlights.”