The Jeopardinator

Been watching Ken Jennings get slammed by Deep Blue or whatever that monster IBM supercomputer is called on Jeopardy? Of course you have.

Others have too. And now the talk is all about whether computers have passed humans at that theoretical point known as “singularity”:

Is it silly to ask if Watson’s Jeopardy win is The Singularity? Maybe.

Er, no. As every Jeopardy fan will tell you, the best players aren’t always simply the most brilliant (although Jennings is pretty close to genius as one can get) but they are also the best at buzzing in.

In one episode, Jennings beat the computer to the buzzer maybe five times (probably less) and answered every question correctly. If he would have had the super-ability to react to the question as fast as the computer, there’s no question that the game would have been a lot closer. It was the buzz — not the lack of knowledge — that allowed the computer to kick nerd tail.

So, again, the answer is ‘no’. We are not close to singularity. Not yet.

Makes for entertaining TV though, don’t it?

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