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Robot Watson wins Webby: Should a computer be 'Person of the Year'?

Categories: Science & Technology

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Ken Jennings prepares for a Jeopardy show-down with Watson, the robot. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The 15th Annual Webby Awards announced its special achievement honourees today. The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences chose Watson, the Jeopardy playing robot, as the Webby Person of the Year. The awards celebrate internet excellence in over 100 categories.

IBM invented Watson, the comprehensive question-answering computer system. Watson debuted on the Jeopardy trivia game show and beat Ken Jennings, who holds the show's longest winning streak title, and Brad Rutter, who is the show's biggest money winner. Watson surprised audiences by answering one final round question incorrectly; he wrongly classified Toronto as a U.S. city.

Other honourees included Dan Savage and Martin Cooper. Savage won a Special Achievement Award for his It Gets Better project. His multimedia work gives hope to LGBT youth. Cooper received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his role in creating the first portable cellular phone.

Watson is the sole non-human honoured by the academy. Does it belong amongst the ranks of outstanding people because it is a technology based award? Do you think it deserves the title of Webby Person of the Year?


(This survey is not scientific. It is based on readers' responses.)

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