undisputed Jeopardy champ made a virtual appearance in Beantown this week, ostensibly as part of a symposium on the ways in which advanced analytics could reshape business. In reality, though, he only showed up to remind everyone that he's really smart. During the event, Watson squared off in a Jeopardy scrimmage against two groups of students from some of the most prestigious business schools in the world -- Harvard Business School, and MIT's Sloan School of Management. The brainiac b-schoolers (including two former Jeopardy contestants) did remarkably well for the first two rounds; Harvard managed to get within $1,800 of the machine going into Final Jeopardy, and even held the lead at one point, following a gutsy Daily Double (MIT didn't fare so well, but hey, we're all human, right?). The wheels came off, however, once the battle entered Act III, when Watson pulled away for the win. Both the computer and Team Harvard answered the final question correctly, but Watson wisely bet just enough to keep the Ivy Leaguers at bay. When the smoke cleared, Watson was left standing with $53,601, Harvard finished with $42,399 and MIT came in a distant third, with $100.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that Watson wasn't even in the same building as his muggle competitors -- nor, for that matter, was he in the same state. IBM kept all of the machine's processors and memory chips at its Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York. Watson had already come up with answers to the questions prior to this week's showdown, but placed wages, chose categories and buzzed in responses in real-time. According to IBM, Watson's presence wouldn't have changed the outcome of the game, which was followed by a discussion on the effects that similar technologies could have on the financial world. The most immediate impact? Bruised egos. Re-live the event at IBM's liveblog below, or find more information in the PR after the break.