IBM: Watson

Agency: Ogilvy & Mather
Client: IBM
Product: IBM Software, Hardware & Services

Objectives

Background:

In February 2011, on a 3 night special edition of the US TV quiz show Jeopardy!, an IBM computer named Watson took on the two finest human players ever to play the game1.

It won2.

But the real victory wasn't of a computer over humans. It was a computer over language. Because while many TV quizzes just test general knowledge, Jeopardy! challenges contestants with wordplay. As an example, given a category ("Let's have a ball") and a clue ("Sink it and you've scratched"), your answer (always phrased as question) would be "What is a cueball?"3 – assuming you'd pressed the buzzer fast enough to beat out your competitors.