IBM's Watson supercomputer has beaten Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in a practice game.
In order to demonstrate the capabilities of the supercomputer, IBM set up the exhibition match between the machine and the two human Jeopardy! champions, with Watson managing to triumph over the human competitors during the pre-broadcast practice run. A formal showdown will be broadcast later and will be aired in February.
Watson has been designed to understand human speech and to analyse puns, word play and slang.
The data stored inside the supercomputer allows it to analyse a question and quickly present the answer along with supporting reasons.
IBM believes that supercomputers like Watson can be used to answer complex questions and give detailed information about topics such as healthcare, tech support and business analytics.
IBM Research director John E. Kelly said in a statement: “We're at a moment in time where computers and computer capability has approached in this dimension the ability of humans, and the fact that the demonstration was so close shows that these two beings, these two lines are crossing.”