On Monday night, IBM wheeled out a "slightly slower" version of Watson, its famed "Jeopardy!"-playing robot, to face off against Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) and a few other legislators in an exhibition match. Given Watson's previous dominance, it was expected to trounce its Washington competition. But after the game, Holt announced some stunning news to his Twitter followers: "I played a full round against @IBMWatson tonight and was proud to hold my own: the final tally was Holt $8,600, Watson $6,200." Holt is a five-time "Jeopardy!" champion, and worked as a rocket scientist before joining Congress in 1999. Still, the fact that he managed to defeat a machine that easily took down "Jeopardy" hall-of-famers Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter two weeks ago inspired some stunned reactions. Here are some of the best:
Holt is humanity's last chance
The congressman should really think about running for president in 2016, says Dan Amira at New York, because "he seems to be the only person capable of leading the country — and the human race — to victory in the coming war against the machines."
Are we sure this actually happened?
"What if Rush Holt is lying?" says Jim Newell at Gawker. Where's the video proof? You know, Kim Jong-il once told the North Korean state news agency that he shot five holes-in-one playing a round of golf. But did anyone see video proof of that?"
Honk if you love Holt
Bumper stickers that read "My Congressman IS a rocket scientist" are already popular in Holt's district, says Fahmida Y. Rashid at EWeek. Now, those can be replaced with "My Congressman beat Watson!"
So much better than "Jersey Shore"
"I lived in (Holt's district) as a kid and am proud that a notable resident of my home state has made headlines for doing something that has nothing to do with political corruption, mobster hit jobs, or a gym-tan-laundry routine," says Caroline McCarthy at CNET.
Let's get serious
Responding to a congratulatory tweet from Nancy Pelosi, Holt said in a statement that "while it was fun to outdo Watson for one night in trivia, it is vital that, as a nation, we out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world for generations to come."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- 10 things you need to know today: September 1, 2014
- Scottish independence is another financial crisis waiting to happen
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
Subscribe to the Week