Several suitors seek supercomputer’s sweet, sweet services

Robot Watson wins Jeopardy. Courtesy of Google Images.

Audiences this past week were stunned as they watched “Jeopardy!” champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter lose a 3-day exhibition match to IBM’s artificial intelligence named Watson. With Watson’s defeat of the champs, several organizations are fighting over who will get to use Watson next, and for what purpose.

Prior to Watson’s embarrassing answer during the first round of Final Jeopardy, the U.S. Military was interested in acquiring Watson. During the first round of Final Jeopardy, the contestants were given the clue: “Its largest airport is named for a World War II hero, and its second largest is named for a World War II battle.” Watson incorrectly guessed “Toronto” instead of the correct answer of “Chicago.”

Following this blunder, the military withdrew its bid for Watson.

A spokesperson commented, “Well, it really wouldn’t have been the most embarrassing geography problem our government has had to deal with. There was the time that Dubya called Africa a country, but with the threat of budget cuts looming we really didn’t want to risk landing our supply planes in Canada. The last thing the Tea Party wants to hear is that we accidentally landed our supply planes in a ‘socialist country.’”

Also in the running for a bid for Watson was the Milwaukee Public Schools, the largest school district in the state of Wisconsin. However, due to the threats of massive budget cuts by Governor Scott Walker, the district was forced to withdraw its bid.

Superintendent Gregory Thornton made a quick statement in-between protests at the state capitol.

“Look, I’m a fan of expanding horizons and all that fancy stuff, but with education in the cross-hairs of Governor Walker we simply cannot afford this system.” However, one proposal by the governor is to fire every geography teacher in the district and have Watson teach via-television in each class.

A spokesperson for the governor said, “The governor is sure that as long as Watson avoids the topic of U.S. cities, the program will be a rousing success. Watson will be more cost-effective than paying hundreds of geography teachers.”

Southwestern University is also interested in acquiring Watson as a part of the University’s effort to re-brand itself.

“The PR buzz surrounding Watson would be sure to boost the University’s profile,” said one SU administrator. Students that were interviewed were less receptive to the idea. One student who spoke under the condition of anonymity feared what type of work Watson would expect from students.

“I’m already dying from the work-load our human professors assign; I can’t imagine what the work-load would be from a computer.”

Regardless of which group or institution gets Watson, the machine has solidified itself in the history books. The demand for game-show playing AIs is sure to rise in the coming months.

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