I have written here a few times before about an IBM project to build a software system that could be a successful contestant on Jeopardy!, the popular, long-running TV game show. Apparently IBM feels that the system, called Watson, is now ready for its public debut. According to an AP story carried at the PhysOrg.com site, a match will take place this winter between Watson and two of the hardy game show’s most successful champions, Ken Jennings (who won the most games, 74) and Brad Rutter (who won the most money, about $3.3 million).
Two of the venerable game show’s most successful champions – Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter – will play two games against “Watson,” a computer program developed by IBM’s artificial intelligence team. The matches will be spread over three days that will air Feb. 14-16, the game show said on Tuesday.
The prize for the winner of the two-game match will be $1 million. IBM has said that it will give any money Watson wins to charity; Jennings and Rutter have pledged to donate half of their winnings.
Watson has apparently already had some trial matches against human opponents, including some past Jeopardy! champions, but its track record has not been disclosed.
It should be fascinating to watch.
Update, Tuesday, 14 December, 14:08 EST
Update Thursday, 16 December, 22:52 EST
The BBC News technology section also has an article about the Watson / Jennings / Rutter match.