Tonight is the final battle between IBM's Jeopardy-playing Watson computer and humanity's two greatest quiz show gladiators. And because I just moved to a state that buries epic man vs. machine battles at 4:30 CST, I'm going to liveblog it early for you all. Spoilers, and the possible end of mankind as we know it, ahead.
For a quick primer on how the contest has shaped up so far, check out our round-ups of the first scrimmage, the evenly matched first round, and last night's total computer domination. Tonight's the rubber match. Let's rumble.
5:30 - Watson gets a much more lengthy introduction than Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Favoritism. Don't like it.
5:31 - "Luck of the draw has given Watson the first selection." Sure. Luck.
5:31 - Watson goes straight for European Union category, instantly snaps up $200 on Istanbul softball.
5:32 - Brad rings in with an incorrect EU response, but Watson also screws up. If it bleeds, we can kill it!
5:34 - Humans are on the board! Brad gets two in a row to dig out of a hole. Ken follows up with two more. Watson doesn't know much about actors who also direct, apparently.
5:34 - First commercial break. Watson $4,200; Ken $3,600; Brad $600. And man do these guys (and machine) move fast.
5:35 - I'd like to use this commercial break to point out that Watson cheats, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a sore loser. Okay, yes I am. Still, though, how is it fair that it's hard-wired into the game board?
5:36 - Too bad none of these categories came up today. And that Watson will have no one to hug after its victory.
5:37 - Looks like they may do an interview portion! Although looks like we're just talking about whose prize money is going to which charities.
5:38 - Some IBM suit is explaining that Watson's winnings are going to World Vision and World Community Grid. Let the machine speak for himself, suit.
5:38 - Watson starts off with a quick correct answer after the break.
5:39 - KEN GOES TRUE DAILY DOUBLE.
5:40 - And he's correct with "Martin Luther King"! The IBM crowd tentatively applauds. Human takes a commanding lead.
5:40 - Humans continue to dominate actors who direct category. Maybe Double Jeopardy will have Directors Who Act?
5:42 -Closing out the first round. Ken $8600, Watson $4800, Brad $2400.
5:42 - Second commercial break. The best part about all this has been seeing Watson's probability meter right? I wish we could see what else Ken and Brad were thinking about too. Probably LOVE or some other HUMAN EMOTION.
5:43 - Or just, like, how great it is to have a soul.
5:44 - Back for Double Jeopard. "What to Wear" is a category, which presumably Watson will be at a disadvantage for.
5:45 - Watson's first correct response comes four or five questions in. "What are tools?" Indeed, Watson. Indeed.
5:46 - Watson hits a Daily Double and gives one of his batshit wagers.
5:46 - AND GETS IT WRONG. Guessed the author instead of the title of the book. He's trailing Ken by almost $10,000.
5:47 - Watson storms back. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.
5:48 - Watson hits another Daily Double but bets only a few hundred dollars. Gets it right, but still trails Ken.
5:49 - Brad looks frustrated. Ken looks eager. Watson looks like a big dumb machine.
5:50 - As expected, Watson can't handle the "What To Wear" category. None of the answers so far has been silicon.
5:50 - Double Jeopardy round is done. Watson $23440, Ken $18200, Brad $5600.
5:51 - Final jeopardy category is 19th century novelists. Which sounds like one of those fact-based questions that's lodged securely in his database. Looking bad for the meat puppets.
5:53 - Possible drinking games for when you watch tonight: drink every time Watson says something kind of human sounding, every time Brad looks like he's breaking his thumb on the buzzer, every time you're pretty sure Watson is the fifth horseman of the Apocalypse.
5:54 - Also, again, sore loser, but did you know Watson crashed multiple times during this taping? I don't think Ken would've gotten a time out for low blood sugar.
5:55 - Final Jeopardy Q: "William Wilkinson's An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia" inspired this author's most famous novel."
5:56 - A: Bram Stoker. Brad gets it right, but he's too far behind for it to matter.
5:56 - Ken gets it right, too. As part of his wager: "I for one welcome our new computer overlord." Only bet a grand, because what's the point?
5:57 - Watson, naturally, owns it. Game over. I'll spare you the final score so you've got some reason to watch tonight still. It's not as bad as yesterday, at least.
5:58 - And that's it! The good news is, lots of charities got lots of money, and Watson represents a huge breakthrough in computing. The bad news is, yeah. We're doomed. Thanks for joining me in the meantime!