History will be made tonight at 7 p.m. EST when former Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings, who holds the record for longest winning streak, and Brad Rutter, who has taken home the most total prize money, go up against a Supercomputer in a tournament for the ages.
At this level of competition it appears that a contestant has the ability to figure out nearly all of the answers anyway so it’ll probably come down to who can ring the buzzer the fastest.
What some people may not know is that buzzing in to answer the question is a two step process. First, Alex finishes reading the question (or answer whatever) then, off-camera a producer turns on a light that signals it’s OK to buzz in an answer the question.
According to Bob Harris, a 13 game Jeopardy winner, who wrote a guest post over at BoingBoing!, “the ability to time the milliseconds between the moment Alex finishes the clue and one of the producers activates the buzzers, slamming your thumb down with either (a) near-perfect reflexes at the off-camera lights telling you the buzzers are go, or (b) a near-perfect guess at the off-stage producer’s timing.
Since a computer can obviously react to the “go” lights more rapidly and consistently than any human, it will probably win. My two cents, anyway.”
My money’s on the computer. Who do you got?