My family and I watch Jeopardy every night. This week we got to watch IBM computer Watson beat the pants off of two human competitors. It was great fun and a good way to learn more about advancements in computer science. One big limitation with computers is their inability to interact with human language. The engineers behind Watson aimed to improve just that. If you're interested in more about the computer's time on Jeopardy, this New York Times front-page piece does a good job of explaining the significance of the win. It even mentions the "buzz-in" advantage Watson had.
So why am I mentioning this on GetReligion? Well, during the last night's show, host Alex Trebek announced that IBM would donate 100 percent of its winnings to charity. Contestants Ken Jennings (who is a funny and talented writer to boot!) and Brad Rutter agreed to donate half of their winnings. The IBM VP announced that World Vision would receive half of the winnings. So kudos to religion reporter Kate Shellnutt at the Houston Chronicle for writing a fact-filled explanation of the religious ghosts there:
IBM's Watson defeated former Jeopardy champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter during a three-night showdown, winning a $1 million prize. But what does a super computer do with a million dollars? He gives it to charity. To Christian charity.
World Vision, an international Christian humanitarian organization, gets half of Watson's winnings. (The other half goes to World Community Grid, an IBM-sponsored nonprofit effort to the world's largest create a public computing grid.)
"It's an honour and a privilege to be a part of this exciting event in IBM's history," said Caroline Riseboro, with World Vision Canada. "IBM leads in the areas of technology and innovation and we hope we can together continue to make a tangible difference in lives of children all over the world. Go Watson!"
World Vision also has connections with Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, who traveled with the charity to Uganda in 2002 and has been involved ever since.
The charity, one of the biggest names in Christian outreach, helps families across Africa, Asia and Latin America whose lives are shaken by natural disaster, war, poverty and famine, out of a sense of religious mission. Though they require corporate employees to be Christian, their charitable efforts serve all people, regardless of their faith.
Nice to see a reporter pick up on religion angles to this story.