Reporting from Washington — Watson -- the IBM supercomputer that cleaned up on "Jeopardy!" -- lost to Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey in a battle of wits Monday evening at a D.C. hotel. So it looks like we can put off welcoming our new machine overlords for one more day.
The faux "Jeopardy!" contest pitting Watson against Holt and some other House members was intended to emphasize the need for increased math and science education to bolster U.S. global competitiveness. Holt, a physicist who was a five-time winner on "Jeopardy!" 35 years ago, played the first round against Watson. The computer easily beat two rivals, including "Jeopardy!" legend Ken Jennings, in a TV tournament last month.
According to Holt's office, the Democratic congressman dusted the computer in categories such as "Presidential Rhyme Time" and "Also a Laundry Detergent." (Example: "What is a three-letter nickname for the Beatles?" Answer: "What is Fab?")
Watson outpaced Holt on the answer to the clue: "Ambrose Bierce described this as 'a temporary insanity curable by marriage.' " Watson answered, "What is love?" (You'll never know, computer.)