My Valentine's Day Plan: Watch Jeopardy! (And Yes, That Is Romantic)

BlogHer Original Post

Want to know my romantic Valentine's Day date? I'm watching Watson the computer play Jeopardy! against Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, the game's two all-time-best champions. I can't wait.

And it is romantic -- I love that my husband knows me so well that we're going to start off a romantic evening with something I love so much.

See, I'm a pretty huge Jeopardy! fan. I've read Prisoner of Trebekistan and Ken Jennings' Brainiac and his Trivia Almanac and even Secrets of the Jeopardy! Champions.

That last title came in handy when this past November, I was a Jeopardy! contestant. And that was pretty exciting. And my husband, Justin was right there with me -- from quizzing me on the periodic table to rooting for me in the studio audience.

And then this is all over the news, just a couple months later and just one month before my March 25 air date:

A computer that plays Jeopardy! --it's captured the public's imagination and, as a contestant, has me fascinated. Forget the questions Watson brings up -- like whether this is a crucial moment in artificial intelligence; I'm thinking about what it would be like to stand on that podium and have to play against a robot. You have to figure out the answer, master the notoriously tricky buzzer timing, try not to think about how you're on national television -- and now, you can't even hope your challenger is soft on 18th-century British literature or famous left-handers? Crazy!

Katie Littendoll at CNET had a chance to play against Watson in a practice round at IBM. Here's what she said:

I also panicked on many of the answers I knew and rang in too early (you can't buzz your answer in until an off-camera light comes on after the question is fully read), locking myself out. And then there was just pure guessing to try to stay in the game, which dug me an even deeper hole. The more frustrated I got, the more apparent Watson's efficiently emotionless rationality became.

Dude. I can't miss this. And I won't have to. Come 7PM tonight, I and my Valentine will be sipping some white wine, canoodling and rooting for the humans (or wait, maybe rooting for Watson? I still haven't decided). What could be more romantic than geeking out with someone who gets your geekery?

Bloggers on the Jeopardy! Human vs. Computer Showdown

  • Collette at When Fridays Were Fridays is betting on Watson.

  • Leah at Unequally Yoked is on my team -- she remarked on Conversion Diary's post, "Quick Takes Friday": " I don’t do Valentine’s Day things with my boyfriend, since it’s mostly and excuse for all the local restaurants to jack up their prices. This year, of course, is different, since IBM’s Watson supercomputer will be facing down Ken Jennings on Jeopardy starting on Monday (valentine’s day). I am super psyched."

  • And Ken Jennings remarks on his blog about all the hoopla: "I knew everything had really changed when I heard a few minutes ago that Mubarak had stepped down in Egypt. I hopped over to to check out their latest Cairo coverage. The top two pieces on Slate at the moment were both profiles of the “J-Archive,” an online database of Jeopardy! clues."

What's the most unconventional thing you consider romantic?


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