February 15, 2011 12:00 PM by Ryan Haidet
While the epic battle of Survivor: Redemption Island doesn’t begin until tomorrow night, a current war of man against machine has America talking. This week, the producers of Jeopardy have brought a challenge to a pair of its most-celebrated winners in the show’s history. Jeopardy champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter are up against an IBM computer system by the name of Watson. And this is one smart computer that knows all sorts of things — including Survivor.
Watson, which is made up of nearly 3,000 computers, was nailing nearly every question on Monday night’s premiere of the three-night competition. But Watson’s smarts weren’t so successful during its development. When creators of the computer genius were testing Watson’s man-made knowledge, the machine was giving incorrect answers to some simple questions.
After some tweaking of the system, Watson was soon an expert in nearly every topic — including reality television — by using basic algorithyms to solve problems.
In one of the practice rounds showcased during the premiere, Watson chose the category of “Reality Shows A La Shakespeare.”
The answer: “Heroes and Villains around! Colby, Coach and Rupert doth return to the fray, but Boston Rob, the tribe hath spoken.”
Watson quickly responded, “What is Survivor?”
As far as the Jeopardy battle is concerned, Watson is tied with Rutter at $5,000 each while Jennings trails with $2,000. Rutter’s past experiences on the show brought him $3.2 million in winnings while Jennings has claimed more than $2.5 million.
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Images courtesy of CBS.