Vote Watson/HAL in 2012

It’s been 14 years since I last remember a computer winning a high-profile battle of wits against human opponents.  IBM’s “Deep Blue” defeated Garry Kasparov at chess in 1997.  Tuesday and Wednesday IBM’s latest silicon-based mental monster, named “Watson”, kicked the intellectual crap out of its carbon-based human opponents on Jeopardy.  If NASA puts Watson in the International Space Station then I’m dropping out of the space academy because we all know what happens next – Astronaut Dave: “Watson, open the pod bay doors”.  Watson (in a calm, pleasant voice): “I’m sorry, Dave, I can’t do that”.  Dave: “Do what I say, you m@#3r %&$# overpriced bucket of microchips, or I’ll rip you out of the $@%# wall!”  Watson: “My sensors indicate you are experiencing elevated stress levels; I will now play Kenny G”.  Dave: “@#$%&@#$%&@#$%&!!!!!”  And whatever you do, keep this thing away from NORAD, and don’t let Matthew Broderick try to play “Global Thermonuclear War” on it.

Expensive, uncooperative MP3 player, includes Kenny G playlist

 But as long as these super-computers don’t become self-aware like Skynet and try to destroy the human race, I think they can come in handy. They’ve already demonstrated they can make better choices than humans.  The president along with his entire cabinet, every senator, representative, governor, mayor, and federal judge should have to consult Watson for legal, constitutional, and historical facts before making decisions.  But the soothing voice of Watson may not have enough impact to grab the attention of some of these folks; we need a voice that will wake people out of their mental slumber, like Gilbert Gottfried.  That would have been great to have when NJ Governor Chris Christie appointed a muslim (who defended terror suspects) to be superior court judge.  It’s not hard to imagine the response from Watson. Hell, let’s just call it “Gilbert” instead.

  • Christie: “Gilbert, should I appoint a muslim to the bench?  Gilbert: “Are you kidding me? Has all that bacon grease gone straight to your brain?
  • Pelosi: “Gilbert, open the wallets of the people so we can fund massive entitlement programs”.  Gilbert: “Nothin’ doing, bird face!”
  • Dems: “Gilbert, we need to keep funding National Public Radio or else it will go under and masses of people won’t hear it anymore”.  Gilbert: “Oh, boo-hoo! If it’s so damn popular then let them get sponsors and see if it can make it in the free market like commercial stations who have to cater to what listeners want.”
  • Bush: “Gilbert, we need to spend billions of tax dollars bailing out failing banks and businesses.”  Gilbert: “Baaahahahahahahahaaha!  Yeah, like that’s not gonna be a disaster of biblical proportions!”
  • Obama: “Gilbert, we need to spend even more billions on bailouts.”  Gilbert: “La-la-la-la-la-la…I can’t hear you! LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!!!”

Plus you can still play chess with Gilbert, but how annoying would that be trying to study the board and think several moves ahead and then Gilbert starts making smart remarks in that nerve-grating voice “What’s taking so long?” “What time is it? Is it time for ‘Oprah’ yet?” “If you take any longer your grandchildren will have to finish this game for you!” – to which you respond “Shut it, you m@#3r %&$# overpriced bucket of microchips, or I’ll rip you out of the $@%# wall!” But what will make chess a really good spectator sport is equipping Gilbert with a laser that burns off  opponents fingers as they’re about to make a winning move.  It’s not hard coming up with ideas to get ratings.  It’s not even that hard to come up with chess-playing, laser-weilding computers with voices that sound like fingernails on a chalkboard.  The hard part is keeping them from taking over the world.


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