Title text: I tell my children 'it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.' I'm trying to take the edge off their competitive drive to ensure that I can always beat them.
This comic is a reference to IBM's computer Watson that beat humans at Jeopardy (see 1002: Game AIs). The IBM team created a computer that could formulate a response to a Jeopardy-style question. Jeopardy is a game played where the contestants are given the answer to a question, and must devise the question. A question might be "Its largest airport was named for a World War II hero; its second largest, for a World War II battle", to which the contestant must answer "What is Chicago?". When going up against two Jeopardy champions, Watson was able to beat them both (by some margin, although he did answer the above-mentioned question incorrectly with "Toronto").
Megan chimes in that we are "pretty awesome at teaching" which is very true. Humans are the best (on this planet) at teaching other things to do a set of tasks. We train dogs, cats, lizards[actual citation needed], birds, other people, and now we are getting quite good at teaching a computer, a simple machine completely of our own design, to mimic our own thought patterns and make decisions similar to what we would make. (See also 1263: Reassuring). It can also be argued that building a machine proficient in a task is equally if not more impressive than being proficient in the task yourself. Thus, humans have nothing less to be proud of.
The title text makes fun of teaching our children values about not trying to win by any means (i.e. but while playing fair) by suggesting we are just trying to hold on to our ability to beat them in something.
- [Cueball sits at a computer; Megan stands behind him.]
- Cueball: Wow — researchers taught a computer to beat the world's best humans at yet another task. Does our species have anything left to be proud of?
- Megan: Well, it sounds like we're pretty awesome at teaching.
- Cueball: Huh? What good is that?
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