Being human is hard

February 12, 2011
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Everything I see is reminding me of my favorite Jeopardy player. This photo is from New York, Broadway in the 20s, I think. Note the snow. There are only traces of it left in the city, but here in the burbs it feels like a permanent part of the landscape.

Everything I see is reminding me of my favorite Jeopardy player. This photo is from New York, Broadway in the 20s, I think. Note the snow. There are only traces of it left in the city, but here in the burbs it feels like a permanent part of the landscape.

I went into the city yesterday to talk about Watson with Ira Flatow for 20 minutes on NPR’s Science Friday. It was a great chat, but unfortunately for me–and happily for about 80 million Egyptians–it coincided with regime change. So I got pre-empted in a number of markets, including New York. Here’s the podcast.

Other media:

Matt Silverman wrote a piece in Mashable about Watson, and included a Q&A with me. (I typed the answers, which makes them a bit more coherent than, say, the word-by-word transcript of the Science Friday talk.)

Dan Sampson wrote a very nice review of the book on CultureMob. (It’s interesting to me that the blogs are happy to review the unfinished book, while mainstream publications seem to be waiting for the finished book to arrive (on Thursday) before deciding whether to review it. This reflects the difference between blogs and mainstream: One tends to focus on events as processes, the other as established facts…)

Laptop, a mobile tech blog, wrote about our partial ebook strategy. Kenneth Butler concludes:

Final Jeopardy
isn’t a perfect example of serialized eBooks because readers won’t be charged for the final chapter, but by peeking into the number of immediate purchases of the sans-epilogue version, we can gain some insight into whether or not installment reading can work for digital content. Pretty fitting that the discussion ends on a cliff-hanger.

Craig Wilson previews the match in USA Today. He quotes me in a classic hedge, noting that the machine is really fast in some categories, and confused in others.

Tom Nissley, the Amazon editor who won eight Jeopardy games last year, interviewed me for a podcast (which is posted on the book’s Amazon page). He also blogged a review on the Amazon site Shelfari. He writes:

The book is a fascinating glimpse into a high-profile technological sprint, and, for those of us who care, an equally interesting look at how to prepare for the game, if you are made of silicon rather than carbon (although carbon-based forms could likely learn a thing or two from the machine). I came away equally impressed by the brainpower and determination that went into building a machine that can play this very human game as well as any human can, and by the remarkable machines we already have in our damp heads, which can still (for a few months yet at least) hold their own against this closet-sized, parallel-processing juggernaut.

And one last article. I had the pleasure of speaking with Teddye Snell, a writer for the Tahlequah Daily Press in Tahlequah, OK. That’s the home of my wife’s twin, Jennifer Craver, and her husband, Larry Gipson, the basketball coach at Northeastern State University. Teddye, a Jeopardy fanatic from way back, wrote this article.