Jeopardy!, the game show hosted by Alex Trebeck, will pit the human brain against the puzzling skills of a machine designed by IBM, according to this Associated Press report.
At first glance, this may not seem as important as Chess player Gary Kasparov’s competition against his artificial intelligent opponent created by IBM, Deep Blue, in 1996 and 1997, but you have to keep in mind that the Jeopardy format of providing the answer in the form of a question, and determing the appropriate information required from the carefully worded puns is a much more difficult computer science problem to address.
Watson, the computer designed by IBM engineers, will compete against two of Jeopardy’s most successful past winners, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, on the shows that will air in 2011, between February 14th and the 16th.
I’m look forward to see how this geekfest plays out. If Watson ends up trouncing Jennings and Rutter, I wonder if they will also accuse IBM of trickery and request a rematch as Kasparov did? And if they do, will IBM comply this time, or deny them the option, and disassemble the machine, as they did Deep Blue?