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Posted at 12:54 PM ET, 03/ 1/2011

Watson plays 'Jeopardy!' with members of Congress

By Hayley Tsukayama

watson members pic1.jpgWatson, the "Jeopardy!" computer, visited the nation's capital yesterday and challenged five members of Congress to a few rounds of the game show.

Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Jim Himes (D-Conn.), Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.), Rush Holt, (D-N.J.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) all challenged the supercomputer.

Holt, a five-time Jeopardy winner and nuclear physicist, was the only member to beat Watson in a round of the game, earning $8,600 to Watson's $6,200. Overall, Watson pulled in $40,300 to the members' $30,000.

The focus of the evening extended beyond the novelty of pitting the lawmakers against the machine, and IBM wanted to emphasize the more practical applications of Watson's technology.

"The simulated match with Watson and congressional members tonight is more than a trivia contest," Christopher Padilla, vice president, IBM governmental programs said in a release. "The technology behind Watson represents a major advancement in computing. In the data-intensive environment of government, this type of technology can help organizations make better decisions and improve how government helps its citizens."

I played a full round against @IBMWatson tonight and was proud to hold my own: the final tally was Holt $8,600, Watson $6,200Tue Mar 01 03:52:04 via TweetDeck

I seriously CANNOT believe that @rushholt beat @ibmwatson. Bumper stix in his district: "My Congressman IS a rocket scientist."Tue Mar 01 01:57:24 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Related stories:

Watson, the 'Jeopardy!' computer, has grander plans

With IBM's Watson on 'Jeopardy!,' how trivial is trivia?

IBM's Watson wins! First 'Jeopardy!' -- next, bad puns?

By Hayley Tsukayama  | March 1, 2011; 12:54 PM ET
Categories:  Computers, Digital culture, Policy and politics  
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Per CNN:

"In the first round, Rep. Rush Holt, D-New Jersey, and Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, sparred with (a slightly slower version of) the computer, appearing in its now-familiar avatar form, although Watson quickly delighted the crowd of IBM employees and congressional staffers with his quick, human-like answers."

Holt is certainly smart, but IBM is smarter - they dumbed down Watson enough to let the CongressCritter win. Sort of the like the Hall-of-Fame pitcher grooving one in to the celebrity. More publicity for them!

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | March 1, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

What happened to Rob. I hope he is still a contributor to this spam news site.

Posted by: jiji1 | March 1, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

It's strange that this was on their schedule this week; playing a game, with so much of the nation's business at hand?

Posted by: Hattrik | March 1, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

In a related story, Watson is currently uploading thousands of images of child pornography to Rep. Holt's personal computer and forwarding the IP address to the FBI...

Posted by: ozpunk | March 1, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

And the rolling caravan of free publicity for IBM continues. Next stop: The Vatican!

Posted by: hoos3014 | March 1, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Somehow, I just knew before I even read this that the congressman who beat 'Watson' wasn't a member of todays low IQ Teapublican party, and sure enough...

Congratulations, Congressman Holt!


Posted by: DrainYou | March 1, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

ozpunk (March 1, 2:55 pm): truly funny!

Posted by: obelix1 | March 1, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

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