As a lifelong lover of trivia, I’ve long been a fan of “Jeopardy!” Because new episodes of the syndicated game show air weekdays at 3:30 p.m. in the Chicago market, I haven’t been able to keep up with it since I entered the working world, save for a stint of unemployment between j0urnalism jobs a couple years ago. As a result, I completely missed watching Ken Jennings’ 74-game winning streak in 2004.
But the game show’s Valentine’s Day gift to its viewers is about to make up for that. Today marks the beginning of a three-day match between Jennings, Brad Rutter (another successful “Jeopardy!” champion) and an artificial-intelligence computer named Watson. And by quirk of fate (and the volatility of jobs for veteran journalists), I’ll be able to watch all three episodes of “The IBM Challenge” as they are broadcast.
I’m curious if anybody reading this is planning to watch “The IBM Challenge” and, if so, whether you think Watson will beat the human contestants. (The PBS show “NOVA” recently asked three experts on artificial intelligence about Watson, its capabilities, and its implications beyond the game show. You can read what they said here.)