Unlike the complex game of chess, mastering Jeopardy with a computer would seem to be a simple matter of automating Wikipedia searches. But there's more to it than that:
One of the toughest challenges for Watson's programmers is predicting confidence in answers-in other words, programming the computer to know when to buzz. Jennings, during his record-breaking Jeopardy! run, would sometimes buzz early, then seem to think for a few seconds before answering.
"I can't validate one way or another exactly what Ken Jennnigs was doing, but I can say the behavior you described is one that suggests that I'm extremely confident that I know all the answers," Ferucci said.
Okay then, but if IBM was searching for an even more impressive feat, how about programming its computer to host Jeopardy rather than play it? Trebek's robotic delivery makes him easily replaced by a speech synthesizer. Heck, we bet Watson's blinking lights would be more watchable.