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First Non-Human Contestant Prepares to Compete on Jeopardy!

By IGI Global on Dec 17, 2010
Remember Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter? To refresh your memory, Jennings became famous on the US television quiz show, Jeopardy!, after winning 74 consecutive shows and setting the record for the longest winning streak. Rutter also became famous on Jeopardy! after winning $3.3 million and setting the record for the most winnings on the show. Seeing them face off against each other this February should be interesting, but the episode's third contestant will be the one to watch.

An artificial intelligence program created by IBM will be competing against Jennings and Rutter on February 14th in the form of a question-and-answer bot. Watson, who was named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, is designed to interpret and respond to questions posed in normal English language patterns. Watson will be competing using skills that involve far more than simple answers to trivia questions, but also include comprehensive knowledge of the English language to unlock the mysteries of puns, wordplay, trick questions, riddles, and more. The winner of this very special contest will receive $1 million. If Watson wins, IBM will donate the money to charity on its behalf, and if Jennings or Rutter win, both have promised to donate half of the prize.

For more on this story, including a special video about Watson, visit www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-12/ibms-triviabot-watson-take-ken-jennings-man-vs-machine-episode-jeopardy.

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