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CMU-IBM Super Computer Beats Humans On 'Jeopardy'

OAKLAND (KDKA) -- It was man versus machine during a viewing of the final "Jeopardy" battle between IBM super computer Watson and its flesh and blood rivals at the Rashid Auditorium on the CMU campus Wednesday night.

More importantly, these fellow students gathered to celebrate this historic moment with Professor Eric Nyberg and his team, graduate students Nico Schlaefer and Hideki Shima who worked with IBM on the development of Watson.

"Watson can now understand human language – that's the big impact that it has," Hideki Shima, PhD, of computer science, said.

Professor Nyberg says this Q&A technology goes beyond Watson's newly-found game show fame.

"We're already working on applying this to health care, providing information services for doctors and we're excited because the 'Jeopardy' performance win or lose really proves that we're ready for primetime and we're here to stay," Nyberg said.

Nico Schlaefer admits Watson may be smart, but not perfect.

"It would fail at the simplest everyday tasks," he said. "When you watch this game show, the other contestants have an interesting conversation with the host Alex Trebek. I think this is something where Watson fails miserably."

In the end, the computer reigned supreme! But fear not, this doesn't mean the end of humanity is near.

"Watson's not even smart enough to act on his own because he still has a few sort of crazy ideas about the world," Nyberg said. "I don't think we're gonna give the launch codes to anybody that thinks grasshoppers eat Kosher for example."

The $1 million jackpot that Watson won will be split evenly among two charities – World Vision and the World Community Grid.

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