[LINK] Weekend Magazine - AI beats Human at Jeopardy, Congressman Beats AI

Tom Koltai tomk at unwired.com.au
Fri Mar 4 21:45:31 AEDT 2011

For those watching the birth and education of "Watson" the IBM AI "Big
Blue" replacement, you will be pleased to know that Terminator, The Saah
Connor Chronicles has not yet come to pass.
An American Politician has creamed the IBM Jeopardy Whizz machine....

For those with access to US Television programming, {satelite or tunnel)
Nova Broadcast 09 Feb "Smartest Machine On Earth" refers.

Quote/ [From: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/117387268.html ]

This time, human beats computer
By John Timpane 
Inquirer Staff Writer

It wasn't even that close.

On Monday night, the IBM program named Watson, fresh from flattening the
best human Jeopardy! players in history last month, squared off against
five members of Congress on Capitol Hill. 

Congresspeople? No contest, right?

On this night, man defeated machine. Rep. Rush Holt (D., N.J.) won
$8,600 in "earnings" from his correct answers, to Watson's measly
$6,200. (No real money was involved.)

Was it fair, though? Holt, who holds a doctorate in physics, was
assistant director of the Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton
University from 1989 to 1998, when he ran for Congress and won. He
represents the 12th Congressional District - a research- and
education-heavy midstate swath extending from the border to the
Manasquan Inlet, and including towns such as Princeton, Trenton,
Freehold, and Sea Bright. He's the only research physicist in Congress,
and one of only a handful of members with any science research

A bumper sticker still seen sometimes around the district reads: "My
congressman is a rocket scientist."

If that weren't enough to scramble Watson's codes, Holt is a Jeopardy!
ringer. His family played the family version all the time, and he was
actually on the TV show.

"I was in graduate school at N.Y.U. in the '60s," he said by phone from
the Amtrak train he was riding from Washington back to Trenton, "and the
show was filmed there. This was when Art Fleming was the host."

How did he do back then? Modestly, Holt replies, "I won five straight

In February, Watson humiliated 74-time Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings and
all-time money winner Brad Rutter. On Monday, it made short work of a
hapless klatch of other congresspeople: Reps. Bill Cassidy (R., La.),
Nan Hayworth (R., N.Y.), former Rhodes Scholar Jim Himes (D., Conn.),
and Jared Polis (D., Colo.). For the sake of kindness, their scores will
not appear. It wasn't pretty.

(Before his showdown, Holt tweeted on Twitter: "Although Watson was just
a little Atari when I was on the show 3 decades ago, he's grown up & I'm
slower than I was then. I watch in awe.")

Then it was Holt's turn. It's almost as if he wasn't paying that much
attention. "I hurried in, played the game, and hurried out. We had votes
before and after," he said. "It seemed like fun, and it was a great way
to illustrate the research process."

It wasn't just science knowledge that won for Holt - it was the
trash-attic of the mind, the storehouse of trivia and quadrivia. "One
category was, I think, 'Laundry Detergents,' " Holt says, "and the
question was, 'What is a three-letter nickname for the Beatles?' I came
up with 'Fab,' which - I didn't know - is also the name of a detergent."

Watson ate Holt's lunch when it came to fashion. "Who knew a metal box
would know more about that than I did?" Holt said. "I got the Silicon
Kid, but Watson beat me to Armani and Yves St. Laurent."

When the totals were in, though, Holt had made Watson elementary. Himes,
making the best of it, tweeted: "Ok. So I came in third behind Rush Holt
(nuclear physicist) and @ibmWatson (supercomputer) but beat all the
other humans. I'll take that."

A gracious winner, Holt said of his vanquished software foe, "I'm not
sure IBM had Watson running on all cylinders Monday night."

IBM hosted the demonstration to stress math and science education as
keys to U.S. global competitiveness. That's why Holt's a big fan of
Watson. DeepQA, the project that became Watson, started in 2005. "The
idea," Holt says, "was to create a program that thinks like a human
being, that recognizes wordplay, multiple meanings, puns. It's a great
example of how a scientific research project can become something
useful." A program like Watson could be valuable in medical settings,
complex service situations such as airplane scheduling, many settings
that depend on human language.

So playing Jeopardy! with a language-savvy machine is, for Holt, a way
to strike a favorite theme.

"We need more people in Congress who think like scientists," Holt says.
"We need better science education, and better education period. We need
to treat our teachers better and treat research as something that
creates jobs."

And what about Watson? The website Movieline ran an article Thursday in
which a "bitter" Watson vowed revenge in a rematch. 

Would be nice if we had a few Jeopardy beating Congressmen in Oz...
Barry Jones, where are you ?

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