Home Tonight on Jeopardy: Man vs. Robot in a Fight to the Death…of Humanity!

Tonight on Jeopardy: Man vs. Robot in a Fight to the Death…of Humanity!

Here at ReadWriteWeb we are, I think you can safely say, obsessed with the upcoming robot-man slugfest on Jeopardy. We’ve covered it three separate times already.

Tonight is the first of three nights where the IBM supercomputer Watson fights it out against Jeopardy‘s two biggest champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. So why are we so into it?

Robots will kill you with their pincers, and humans are made of soft, squishy meat. Technically, I suppose, Watson is not a robot (nor Jennings a human). But it’s close enough for government work. I really do not want SkyNet to kill us off once it proves it can best our best and brightest. In essence, I think it may get ideas in its head.

Oh, how I kid. I don’t really think Watson will start purging the universe of the human virus. Not soon. But there is a path to that paranoid possibility and I seem to have seized on the notion that a machine beating Ken Jennings like a rug is definitely one of the steps between the bombe and the Apocalypse.

One of our writers, Mike Melanson, contrasted this contest with Gasparov vs. Deep Blue:

“It’s almost like a computer winning at those is less offensive than a computer being able to process language and beat us at trivia.”

Audrey Watters, on the other hand, is clearly in the pay of the machines.

“I remember watching Ken Jennings wipe the floor with other competitors during his stint on the show. I found his knowledge of trivia both encyclopedic and machine-like. And I must confess, I’m eager to watch a computer kick his butt. Probably because I found him to be smart and smug and when I played along at home, he always beat me to the buzzer. I think that Watson marks an interesting achievement in AI. What I really look forward to, however, is the day when we can program computers to replace boring TV game show hosts.”

Jennings and Rutter! Do not be the men who lost the human race to this Digital Khan.

Who are you supporting? Man or machine? Let us know in the comments.

Here. Here’s Watson’s anti-human propaganda. Watch it. And be terrified. See you in the underground.

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