Ken Jennings on being replaced by a computer…

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Remember Ken Jennings?  Ten years ago, Mr. Jennings set the record for the longest winning streak ever on the syndicated television gameshow Jeopardy!  Since his long streak in 2004, he moved Seattle, appeared on other gameshows, and holds the crown for the all-time leading money winner on gameshows in the United States.

Jennings has a lot to say about a topic near and dear to a tech-savvy teacher’s heart as he was, arguably, “replaced” when he was beat by the IBM mega-intelligent super computer Watson in a series of mental sparring matches in 2011.  Watson is an amazing invention, and can answer questions posed to it by natural language.  If you didn’t see the matches in 2011, it is certainly worth your 20 minutes to see this machine at work:

As of late, Watson has retired from gameshows and is focusing its efforts on assisting the medical community with diagnosing disease.

I recently stumbled upon Jennings giving a TED talk at a TEDx conference at SeattleU.  He talked about the experience, and reflects on a world where his skill, being a “know it all,” is being replaced by technology.  I think this discussion is very relevant to classroom debates about the role of teachers and teaching in a world with rapidly evolving technologies.






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