Debate: Should Robots be Allowed to Compete on Jeopardy!?

By Jake & Glenn 

The popular quiz show Jeopardy! is about to move into the modern day dystopia of 2K11. Every day when unemployed people get tired of "judge shows" in the middle of the afternoon, they turn the channel to watch three human beings compete for money and prestige. The other day they were surprised to see one of the human beings replaced (and presumably killed) by a robot. This robot went on to win that particular episode while nativists, xenophobes and Luddites all screamed in anger. Are they right to scream? Today Jake and Glenn, both former robots themselves, launch down an Issac Asimov-inspired world of debate about the role robots will play in our future society.

Jake: Ever since the film Robot Jox dominated the cinemas, I have been waiting for a future full of robotic competition. Up until this year, the only competing robots did was against dirt on the floor. In 2K11, we are going to witness man vs. machine as Jeopardy! will now be allowing computers to play for huge cash payouts. If the movie Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines is indicative of the future, the "machines" allowed to play the quiz show will "rise" to the top, ultimately enslaving humanity with their superior knowledge of trivia. I am fine with this. It is just one of those things that is going to happen and there is no fighting it--just like getting cancer. When we elect our first robot president, I will cast my vote for it, unless it is running against Sarah Palin. I vote for whoever is going to kill the Earth the fastest, which is why I voted for George W. Bush twice and Obama four times (don't tell anybody that I committed voter fraud).

Glenn: I knew you worked for ACORN so I'm not surprised to hear that you committed voter fraud or that you are so supportive of robots dominating human beings. Putting a robot on Jeopardy is as preposterous as Alex Trebeck's decision to shave his mustache. That mustache defined him, it was beautiful, and it felt great on your lips if you kissed him. There is nothing beautiful about having to answer a question against someone who doesn't think, only computes. If I'm on Jeopardy and have to answer which Amendment in the US Constitution forbids the government from passing health care reform (Tenth), extraneous information whirling around in my brain delays me. I might think about the time I first learned there was a Bill of Rights or the time I later learned violent, false rhetoric doesn't encourage violence amongst violent, mentally unstable people. A robot simply pulls up its electronic copy of the US Constitution and pinpoints the Tenth Amendment before I've even blinked and softly flatulated. Not very fair is it?

Jake: Why should computers be punished because you have a hard time concentrating while you have gas? That doesn't seem fair to me. It also does not surprise me, since you are on an all bagel diet. Jeopardy! is one of America's greatest game show, second only to the one where they drop you off of a building in a car. If Alex Trebeck and his Jeopardy! crew decide that robots should be allowed to challenge for the crown, then who are we to argue? Those are the smartest people on Earth. I feel like you being against this is similar to conservatives not wanting gays to serve in the military. You are a robophobe, and frankly, I find it appalling.

Glenn: I think homosexuals should serve as openly in the US military as they march in New York City's famous Pride parade. However, I don't think robots should be marching down our streets in front of my children and lobotomized wife. If robots want to answer trivia questions posed by other robots in the privacy of their own homes, that's fine - but don't make me watch it on Jeopardy. And it isn't just that robots can answer questions so quickly; it's also that they are uninteresting to watch. On regular Jeopardy (let alone the college or children's versions), there is something very arousing and/or stimulating about a human being trying to think of an answer they might know but probably don't. I went to a Madrasah Islāmiyyah growing up so I know very few answers, but the ones I do know I don't want to see answered by a robot. A robot can quote the Qur'aan but it cannot know why it is worth killing for.

Jake: If robots are so boring, then explain the success of such movies as Wall-E, iRobot and Short Circuit 2. What if iRobot, Johnny-5 and Wall-E played a round of Jeopardy! against each other? It would probably shatter the ratings record currently held by Jersey Shore. I highly doubt that it would be anywhere near boring. That dream scenario, aside, I just do not see what the big deal is about robots competing against humans. My opponent clearly thinks robots are superior to humans in trivia. I disagree, unless all of the questions are about oil and microchips. Jeopardy! is not just about being able to buzz in the fastest, but also about knowing the answers. A robot cannot know every answer, can they? Robots don't know shit! I bet a robot couldn't name every Three Stooge--they'd probably get confused and name only three, plus they think Curly Joe is the funniest. Curly Joe sucks! The only issue I have with robots competing on Jeopardy! is that you cannot kill a robot, at least not in the conventional sense, which is also why Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is such a frightening film.

Glenn: I agree with you about the Terminator series being frightening. I wouldn't want to compete against a T1000 in Jeopardy or the Arnold Schwarzenegger one from the first movie. They would answer all the questions before you and then kill you. Because that's what robots do. How could you think that robots wouldn't have an unfair advantage? They are programmed to know exactly the kind of trivia required in Jeopardy. Now if it was a logical reasoning show or an emotional counseling show, I think a human being would easily defeat a robot. A human being can tell another human being how to find love but a robot can only give someone GPS directions to the town of Love, Illinois (a real rural town!). My last point is that once we let robots compete on Jeopardy, we have to reward them even more rights. Currently a robot is not allowed to vote, commit espionage or shoot a police officer - things that even people like Mumia Abu Jamal are allowed to do. Letting them compete on Jeopardy and then invest their prize money into a calculated hedge fund that will quadruple every year is akin to giving fetuses civil rights, the way several Congressional Republicans advocate. I don't want to stand in line behind a fetus to get a drivers license at the DMV and I don't want to watch a robot win Jeopardy and then activate a nuclear weapons launch against China, the way several Congressional Democrats advocate. No robots in Jeopardy now, no robots on Jeopardy tomorrow and no robots on Jeopardy forever!


  1. The last line is appropriating a famous quote by George Wallace.

  2. The second picture is from the Jeopardy! slot machine, which is located in casinos everywhere.

  3. This is a highly underrated debate.

  4. Arguably the MOST underrated debate, but that's a debate for another time.

  5. Why didn't motherfucking BUB comment on this!? Was he busy raising a family and having a life or something? I mean--what the fuck!?

  6. Some might say that Bub's greatest regret in life is not commenting on this debate sooner to the time it happened.

  7. Who needs Bub to comment when we can comment repeatedly on this for the rest of our lives?

  8. An infinite regression of Bub-less, Bub-related comments.

  9. This was really funny, I just missed it. I already knew that Glenn was a softly flatulating robophobe, but I am glad to be reminded of it now!


no more comments from spam bots. fuck off.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.