"Watson" didn't have to push a button, a huge advantage when everyone knows the answer well before the question ends on "Jeopardy".
You could see it in real time, but I'd like to see data equivalent to what was used to determine the lock-out time for a false start in track when they shifted to electronic timing. I'd guess that "Watson" rung in at the same instant every time as it didn't have to worry about moving a finger or the delay as flesh meets button. After all, it could devote a processor to that task without any distractions from the main task at hand.
Indeed, this raises two questions about how "Jeopardy" determines when the board is open to ring in with an answer.
1) Does a human press a button, or is the end determined by an electronic sensor listening to the host's microphone? If the latter, a machine with a non-mechanical reaction time can learn to anticipate when the lights will come on.
2) Does the system lock out for a reasonable reaction time after the lights come on, the way they do for false starts in track? In track, extensive tests with world class sprinters showed that none had a reaction time less than 0.1 s, with the best around 0.12 s. Since visual responses are, reportedly, slower, does Jeopardy have a 0.2 s lockout for a valid response?
If it doesn't, "Watson" had a huge advantage.
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