George and Joan, Thinking Out Loud about the Great Grudge Match

podcastThe great grudge match of which they speak is the upcoming showdown between IBM’s supercomputer Watson and two former Jeopardy champions. In their podcast former two-time Jeopardy champion George and Jeopardy fan Joan ponder whether a computer, even a really, really fast one, can think in real time as nimbly as a human. What about natural language, slang, humor? And if it can, what does it mean for libraries when a machine can evaluate and answer a question as well as a human being (dare we say, a librarian)? Listen to the podcast, think fast and watch the show on Monday.

George and Joan aren’t the only ones who have been intrigued by this contest. Here is a New York Times article discussing it, and here is an Engadget article that includes links to the practice rounds George and Joan mention in the podcast. And a discussion on Web4Lib is also talking about it.

Who do you think will win?