'Jeopardy' man vs. machine draws record ratings

JeopardyImage Credit: Ben Hider/Getty ImagesResistance is futile! Rounds 1 and 2 in Jeopardy‘s man vs. machine stunt delivered the show’s biggest rating in years.

Monday’s episode featuring IBM’s computer Watson playing Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter had an 8.7 household rating, while Tuesday’s numbers climbed to a 9.5. That’s the best Jeopardy performance in nearly six years.

Spoiler alert: The computer kicked ass. Take that, human race!

The organic rebels will have one last chance to take down IBM’s Skynet tonight.

Read more:
‘Jeopardy!’ review: Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter vs. Watson the computer: Round 1 goes to…
‘Jeopardy’ pits human champions against soulless machine, starting tonight

Comments (90 total) Add your comment
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  • HatAttack

    Keep it up, Jeopardy! You’re just two computers away from being an internet search engine!

    • Luke

      Am I the only one who got visions of HAL while watching this?
      He even looks like the monolith in ‘2001’

      • manno

        You realize that’s not the computer itself but a displayed avatar on a screen, right?

      • JR

        Gotta say, Brad has turned into one smoking man.

      • Greg

        IBM… Ninth letter, Second letter, Thirteenth letter. 8-1=7, 2-1=1, 13-1=12.
        7th letter: H
        1st letter: A
        12th letter:L

        [I B M]-1 = HAL
        Coincidence? I think not! lol

      • lolshad

        he didnt say it was the computer. The screen is a rectangle which looks like the monolith. the monolith represents something. this screen represents the computer. stop trying to be a smartass

      • NATIVE

        GREG: That is no coincidence! That is how HAL was named, one step ahead of IBM. Read the book “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The book explains why the computer was named HAL. HAL was named so it is always ahead of IBM.

      • Brian E.

        Gotta agree JR. Brad cleaned up NICE. Wow.

    • Bill

      Dude that’s f’in funny!!!

    • AJ Good

      Watson is not a search engine, nor an internet database. Research folks.

  • Stephanie T.

    No it did not. Toronto is NOT a U.S. City! Secondly, the only U.S. city that is close to Toronto is Detroit. Computers make mistakes, but that mistake seemed a bit too obvious. I think that Watson might have been rigged.

    • manno

      Rigged how? Explain your thesis and prove please.

    • Brian

      I agree it was a bizarre mistake, but why would they rig it to lose less than a thousand dollars while still crushing the competition? I don’t see the logic there. If they were neck-and-neck, sure, but to rig that seems totally random IMO.

    • MDS

      There are several Toronto’s in the US.

    • John F

      Actually, there are seven US cities named Toronto.

      • ries

        and you probably knew that because you looked it up on a computer. dun dun dun!

      • dave

        Watson can’t look stuff up on the internet. It is programmed with information and can only search what they have loaded. It uses key words to search for the potential answer. It’s possible the wording of the question confused what it was looking for.

        Though the answer was quite easy.

    • AWoman

      Actually, Buffalo is closer to Toronto

  • LOL

    Watson is too fast on the buzzer. It’s just a button pushing contest. It sucks the joy out of the game.

    • jg

      On top of that the questions are fed directly to it, it’s not really listening to the question and interpreting it. That’s the reason why it repeated Ken’s wrong answer, it had no way of hearing it.

      • StephenKC

        That’s not entirely true. It IS, in fact, being fed the other contestants’ answers. In that particular case, Watson didn’t repeat the incorrect answer; it gave a variation on the same answer.

      • Observer

        Watson did not really repeat Ken Jenning’s answer. Ken replied “the 20s” in response to the question. Watson replied “the 1920s” in response to the question. Sometimes the answer has to be perfectly correct to get credit. In other words, it is possible that Watson was trying to clarify the answer in order to get credit.

    • Erinn

      We know that all three of them know the correct answer probably 97% of the time…this is really a button pushing contest. And really, don’t you think a machine has a pretty big advantage at that?

      I tried watching yesterday, but it was so boring. It was just the computer, every time. Regular Jeopardy cannot come back fast enough.

      • Gigi

        Feels too much like an IBM informercial.

      • dlauthor

        But they helped us land on the moon! And made Garry Kasparov cry! And something something genome!

    • Dicazi

      Watson pushes the button if it’s reasonably sure of the answer. Humans push the button if they think they know the answer and use the second or two to find the answer.

    • ALM

      Funny, that’s exactly how I felt when Ken Jennings was Jeopardy champion. He sucked the joy out of the game.

      • Joe

        How could he suck the fun out of the game. Weren’t you watching just to see him lose at some point? I know I was, then it became can he top $1MM, can he win 50 games, etc.

  • Tego Livi

    The machine’s advantage is the same thing that usually determines who wins Jeopardy: timing on the button. Sometimes one player has a clear knowledge advantage, but most of the time, the person with the best ability to ring in at the right time is the winner.

    • Gus


      • Moe

        Plus, the computer is incapable of buzzing in early. If one of the guys buzzes in early, they are locked out from buzzing in again for a second or two.

      • Zam

        In the grand scheme of things is doesn’t matter who’s winning it matter’s that the computer can answer the questions. That is what’s cool about this.

    • David Bell

      Actually Watson was using a mechanically operated pushrod to push the button on exactly the same handheld device as Ken and Brad.

  • joyful

    Brilliant move by IBM. A three day commercial plus all the buzz in Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube. A Super Bowl commercial can’t top this.

  • Jillyro

    Yeah, but it’s boring to watch, glad they are only doing it for 3 eps.

    • Larry

      Agreed. I’m a huge Jeopardy fan and this isn’t enjoyable at all.

    • Erinn

      Exactly. Oh wow, a button pushing competition…they all know the answers.

  • Flip

    I hate Watson—I think it’s evil.

    • Zam

      That’s silly. Watson is doing the same thing your search engine is doing. Only it’s able to understand language better and therefore provide better answers to your searches.

    • Watson

      I hate you — I think you’re evil.

      • dlauthor

        Aigh! It’s commenting on the net now. Kill it! KILL IT WITH FIRE!

      • timfan

        Best internet comment ever.

      • WATSON

        @dlauthor – I’m afraid I can’t let you do that, Dave.

  • Sarah

    Jeopardy! comes on at 11:30pm where I live. WTF?

  • jfms777

    Like watching a bad accident. You cannot keep away from it.

  • mostboringseasonever

    I like the concept, but the show has been totally boring.

  • Matt W

    Toronto, the newest city in the USA!

    • John F

      in fact, there are seven of em… seven us cities named toronto…

      • dlauthor

        How many have two international airports?

      • Matt W

        Yes I’m aware there are cities in the United States that have the name of Toronto, but thank you to dlauthor for seeing my point.

      • coach john

        dlauthor, Midway is not an international airport, only O’hare, like Laguardia and JFK in NYC

  • Gigi

    I wonder what Brad and Ken’s appearnce fee money is.

    • dlauthor

      Second and third place are getting six-figure prizes. First place gets either half a million or a full million. Can’t remember which. IBM is donating its winnings to charity; Brad and Ken are donating half.

  • Ron

    A computer the size of a room, programmed by a bunch of programmers over a four period to what the human brain does and people like Richard Dawkins continue to deny the existence of a God you “designed” the human brain… come-on people… let’s use some common sense.

    • dlauthor

      I’ll take “trying to hijack a conversation about a television show to push pseudo-scientific claptrap” for $800, Alex!

    • Sherlock Holmes

      Yes Ron, clearly the fact that it took humans years to develop Watson, is 100% empirical proof that there is a God!

  • John

    It is nice that a US company were the leading innovators on such an advancement.

  • Sam J

    Humans work backwords from Gods blueprint I guess. We made it almost as smart as humans first and in 10-15 years it will be the size of the human brain or smaller. God made efficency a priority by evolving us from an existing model(an ape) and our brains developed over 150,000 years or so. Watson is the “Transitional Species” of some great future entity. We are its God.

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