And lo, on the evening of February 14th in the year 2011 A.D., mankind will send forth its most uselessly capacitive minds in a last stand against the rise of its own ruthlessly intelligent machines... All for the purposes of boosting ratings on the television game show Jeopardy.
We will most likely lose.
IBM's Super Computer, known as "Watson" to underlings, makes its debut on Jeopardy tonight— the first of a three-night arc that goes through Wednesday. The computer, which uses thousands of algorithms simultaneously and eats vast databases of literature and accumulated knowledge for lunch, has been specifically programmed to compete in the classic trivia game. It will face off against both 74-time consecutive winner Ken Jennings and all-time payout champ Brad Rutter. Betting site bodog.com sets the odds of the computer taking it to their human flesh at 5/6.
IBM scientists say the goal of the Watson project was to create a computer that could understand and respond to human English in real time. But we all know those are famous last words. Soon, we will have to send someone back in time to kill these scientists before it is too late.
Jeopardy air times vary depending on your region, but it usually comes on around 6 or 7 or so (Check your local listings!). Watch a disturbing video of Watson creaming Jennings and Rutter in a practice round below.