Note: Spoilers Are Below For Those Who Have Not Seen Last Night's Episode
In one of the most hyped up and anticipated Jeopardy! episodes ever, IBM's super-intelligent computer Watson held its own against its human opponents, but also struggled at times.
In the first round of an event spanning three days, Watson scored $5,000 against fellow Jeopardy! contestants Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings. Rutter was tied with Watson and Jennings trailed them both with $2,000. The match resumes tonight. The contestants will play a second match later this week.
Much of the special Jeopardy! event, which took place at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., focused on Watson's specifications, capabilities and how it was built. Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek showed viewers Watson's mainframe in a segment before gameplay even started.
In the beginning of the first round, Watson started off strong, even earning $1,000 on a daily double question. Going into the commercial break, Watson held a commanding lead over Rutter and Jennings and it seemed like it would run away with the game. However, Watson, represented by an avatar, began to stumble in the midgame with some confusing answers.
In one category, all of the answers were supposed to be decades. Watson had trouble coming up with a correct answer for any of the questions. In one incident, Jennings had incorrectly answered 1920s for one question, and then Watson went and gave the same wrong answer.
The grand prize for this competition will be $1 million, with second place earning $300,000 and third place $200,000. Both Jennings and Rutter say half of their winnings will be given to charity, while IBM says all of Watson's earnings will be donated.
Jennings is possibly the most famous Jeopardy! contestant ever in the show's 30-plus year run. He broke the Jeopardy! record for the most consecutive games played by winning 74 in a row during the 2004-2005 season and won more than $2.5 million. Rutter won the highest cumulative amount ever by a single Jeopardy! player, earning $3,255,102.
Check below for part of the episode.