This really did seem like a battle of the clickers. It was often
obvious that the other two clicked, but Watson beat them on the
draw. At least twice Brian Ritter beat Watson on the click when
Watson was very sure of its answer. Another time Watson was
over it's threshold, but in its "probable" range (indicated by
yellow) and Ken Jennings beat it. Likely it was working on
strengthening its certainty level before clicking.
To give humans a chance, Watson should be programmed to click
with the average delay that a person who clicks within a second
of the completion of the clue gives -- or to give an inconsistent
delay distributed according to the temporal distribution of such
I would like to see figures for the number of times that the other
contestants clicked their buzzers, but Watson clicked first.
There was a very entertaining discussion with Ken Jennings in the online
WaPo today: http://live.washingtonpost.com/jeopardy-ken-jennings.html
He acknowledged the distinct buzzer advantages of Watson but accepted it as just another inherent advantage that a computer will have in a game of this sort.
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