Smartest Machine on Earth
An example of geeky-brainiac cross-promotion, Smartest Machine on Earth provides the background to next week’s Jeopardy showdown between Ken Jennings, whose face Alex Trebek got good and sick of in 2004; Brad Rutter, the winner of the most money in the show’s history; and Watson, an IBM computer that is the end result of a four-year effort to build the ultimate testament to machine learning.
The hour begins with a little slice of geek heaven, with a procession of wild-eyed fellows who’ve spent a lot of their lives indoors talking about how they got roped into the quest to build a machine smart enough to take our jobs, seduce our girlfriends, obtain our PIN numbers, and change the locks on the door.
As you might guess, sci-fi had something to do with it. To establish just how long man has been dreaming of being displaced by his klankety brothers, there are clips of the heroine’s mechanical doppelganger in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, Forbidden Planet and Lost in Space co-star Robby the Robot, and something I couldn’t place that looked as if Jeffrey Tambor had mated with a refrigerator, introducing itself with the sure-fire come-on line, My brain is bigger than yours.
Watch the full documentary now (playlist – 50 minutes)