Here’s a healthy reminder that Jeopardy champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter will face off against each other and the supercomputer known endearingly as Watson this week. The man vs. machine 3-night competition begins tonight and will run through Wednesday the 16th. Jeopardy airs at 7PM ET on ABC. Fill your brain with knowledge about Watson’s abilities before tuning in tonight, then let Judgment Day the games begin!
Update: No surprise here; Watson dominated and destroyed the species that created it. After the three-day, two game competition the scores tallied like this: Rutter scored $21,600; Jennings $24,000; and Watson a whopping $77,147. In the end, these amounts were wiped away and replaced by fixed scores of $200,000, $300,000, and $1 million, respectively. The two human contestants agreed to share half their winnings with their charity of choice. All of Watson’s earnings will find their way to a charity selected by IBM called Skynet World Vision and World Community Grid.
With Watson on board, Jeopardy received its biggest jump in ratings since May 2005′s Ultimate Tournament of Champions (which featured Jennings and Rutter). It’s being reported that Monday night’s show posted an 8.8 rating and that spiked 9% on Tuesday to a 9.6 rating. All in all, Watson proved that machines are certainly getting smarter and more sophisticated. But at least we don’t have to expect world domination just yet; it thought Toronto was a U.S. city! Side note: How cool was it to watch Watson’s avatar “sweat” during the heated competition? When it was confident about a response green swirls swooped to the top of the display, and when it was unsure about one (or–gasp!–answered incorrectly) the swirls would change to a yellow hue and sink to the bottom. Watching the computer “think” was fun to watch.