Be scared of Watson; Today, ‘Jeopardy,’ tomorrow, the world?

By John Toth

Be scared, very scared. Change is coming worldwide.
You know what I’m talking about if you have been watching the news the last few weeks. You know that things will never be the same.
I’m not talking about the kings and dictators in the Middle East feeling the heat of a populous yearning for freedom.
It’s just a matter of time before they all flee to their favorite resorts with bags of money.
Although that is an important topic, I am talking about something even more important on the world stage.
It (as this is neither a he or she) is the new “Jeopardy” champion, beating out the best the human world can offer.
Last week, Watson finished with $77,147, with Ken Jennings coming in second with $24,000 and Brad Rutter last with $21,600. They are the two best brains of Jeopardy.
They know more about everything that the rest of us put together.
It wasn’t even close. The IBM super computer ran away with the top prize, leaving perhaps the two smartest people in the world … in the dust.
IBM wants to market Watson’s question-answering technology for use in hospitals and call center help desks. The last time IBM created a man-versus-machine challenge of this scale, it built Deep Blue, the chess-playing supercomputer that beat champ Garry Kasparov.
IBM is building computers that are bullying around our smartest people, showing off, beating us on the only television game show that still requires some brains.
“Jeopardy” does not give you any slack – no multiple choice, no calling a friend or polling the audience. You either know it or you don’t.
I like watching the show, but often am stumped, much like Jennings and Rutter were last week. Then came the excuses.
Watson buzzed in too quickly, since it didn’t have to lift an arm and push the buzzer. It just activated an electronic buzzer.
Fair enough. After all, we are physical creatures and can’t just use our brains to push buttons (although that would be cool).
The bigger picture here is that we are building computers to do a lot of smart things, and down the road that could backfire.
Did Hollywood predict correctly? Were “The Matrix” and “The Terminator” foreshadowing what’s about to take place?
Is it time to start building an underground city so that the machines, when they rise up against us, take a while to locate us?
If we’re already building computers to outsmart humans, by the time we reach “The Matrix” scenario, it won’t take much for those super intelligent super computers to find us by just shooting out a few search beams.
And, we certainly do not want these smart heaps of metal to come back from the future and start fighting their battles. It would be a disaster if they started blowing up the world.
It’s time to act, and go Egypt on these things. No, that would not work. After 18 days of demonstrating, the computers would still be there. They don’t care about time.
We need to petition our government to dumb down these computers now. How? I have a plan.
Force them to watch reruns of shows like “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “My Mother the Car,” and “Mr. Ed.” That will bring them back down to the the intelligence level of most humans – excluding my readers, of course.
Then we need to make them watch reality shows. That should finish them off right there.There is a simpler solution, but that would be too simple.
Pulling the plug would not involve the drama that my other solutions provide. The computers would just go blank. How boring is that?
My way, after being forced against their will to watch the programming I have suggested, these arrogant super computers would beg for forgiveness and promise never to turn evil. World saved.