Parenting: What if Watson was your parent?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
watson jeopardy

Watson cleaned up on Jeopardy. Jennings and Rutter didn't even know what hit them. That is fascinating in itself.

But what if Watson were the boss of your children? What if Watson were a parent? More specifically, the dad?

Clearly Papa Watson would be able to answer just about any question you have about just about anything. So you'd probably learn a whole lot of stuff if you were raised by this IBM super-uper-duper computer.

But would Watson make rational decisions in the parenting process? Only he (and his creators) know for sure.

Luckily, we can surmise in this parenting blog by having a thought experiment. Let's see how he does with my kids:

SON: Daddy Watson, can I have pizza for breakfast?

Watson thinks for a moment. Hmmm, my son is hungry, therefore he has to eat. It is 7:30am and this tends to be breakfast time in this part of the world. Is pizza a common breakfast food? Dough, cheese, tomato sauce, pepperoni. No, none of those food items tend to be featured on a breakfast menu.

WATSON: No, son, you may not have pizza for breakfast. Request denied.

DAUGHTER: Daddy Watson, can I watch HBO tonight?

Watson thinks for a moment. Hmmm, what is HBO? Home Box Office. That is a cable network that offers a wide variety of movies and original programming. And it tends to show programming unsuited for younger viewers like my daughter during late night. This is also a school night. My daughter needs to make sure she has completed her homework. My calender log indicates she has a spelling test tomorrow. She also needs to get enough rest so she can be alert in class.

WATSON: I'm sorry, but HBO is not a cable network designed for kids. And you need to review your spelling words. Plus, bedtime is a half hour away. Request denied.

DAUGHTER: Okay Daddy Watson. Can I watch Jeopardy on the DVR instead?

Watson thinks for a moment.

WATSON: Request granted.

SON: Daddy Watson, may I go to my friend's house this afternoon?

Watson thinks for a moment. His room is a mess. There are toys spread out all over the garage. The lawn needs to be cut. Both cars need to be washed. My son is capable of accomplishing all of these tasks.

WATSON: Request denied. Start cleaning your room. After that, I have more tasks for you.

SON: C'mon Daddy Watson, give me a break.

WATSON: Request granted. Take five.

Son and daughter think for a moment. This Papa Watson guy is no fun. How do we get rid of this bucket of silicon chips and convince our real parents to return?

SON: Hey Daddy Watson, want to go to Toronto?

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