I was very excited to see this match up. Still am, but a little less after seeing the Nova episode. Personally, it would have been better if Watson actually handle video / audio input too.
Instead of getting the questions sent to it, it would have been more challenging for Watson to see the questions come up, and hear Alex say it -- and of course, figure out when to press the button too.
Thirty minutes just for the jeopardy round is a bit much. I don't mind the watson details, but it would have been better that they played a whole game, even if it took an hour, instead of spreading out one game over two days.
For the record, I am a regular watcher of jeopardy; and I felt cheated watching a half game.
author & internet detective
Also liked showing of early practice rounds and how Ken buzzed in before ready to beat Watson. Plus when Ken answered 's was wrong and Watson gave the same answer. Alex Trebec said "no, Ken said that".
Jeanne's link also contains a short video that I found interesting, although (if I remember correctly) they don't specify how the questions are sent or the buzzer pressed. (sorry I can't link, very slow connection at the moment)
I agree that a fully automated test would have been much better.
Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Also liked showing of early practice rounds and how Ken buzzed in before ready to beat Watson. Plus when Ken answered 's was wrong and Watson gave the same answer. Alex Trebec said "no, Ken said that".
There are definitely quirks in the system. My favorite one was when Ken answered "what is having only one arm?"; Watson knew it was the leg, but didn't understand that having "only one" was significant, nor can hear Ken's answer... so simply answered "what is leg?", which was wrong.
It was interesting to see which questions Ken beat the wire-head on. The third day was much better television, the first two were tiny bits of the game with long IBM commercials. It was impressive, but the commercials were very short on any real meat.