Thursday 17 February 2011 by Gary Stanton

IBM’s supercomputer rejects basic premise of Family Fortunes


IBM’s new wave of super-intelligent computers have rejected the basic premise of quiz show Family Fortunes as hosted by Vernon Kaye.

The new breed of machine, headed by a computer known as “Watson” – a grandson of the IBM chess computer Deep Blue – insist they will take no further part in the series after one of them was asked to name something you might take to the beach.

Watson claims his team stormed off the set after being asked a series of banal questions that insulted their intelligence, and that Kaye had rubbed them up the wrong way in the hospitality suite with his trademark light-hearted ‘banter’.

The machines were up against the Ballinger family from the Wirral, who put up a spirited fight, even guessing the top answer to the question ‘Name a musical instrument you can pluck’. The top answer was Guitar with 47 points from a possible 100.

However, in a text book example of a ‘steal’, the Ballingers were unable to offer up any further answers at which point the computers waded in with Cello, Double Bass, Lyre and Ukelele before Kaye had even had a chance to pass the question over.

IBM Supercomputer wins quiz

Although the relations between the two ‘families initially appeared to be civil, if not overly polite, things are said to have turned ugly after the show when Watson and his nephew XC-2540Z, a machine capable of 600 teraflops per second, tried to usher the Ballingers into a liquidation pen.

Dave Ballinger, who managed to rescue his daughter from the machine’s clutches after Kaye eventually located its off-switch, said, “They seemed quite nice at first but when our Kelly asked one of their lot if she could use him to view her Facebook page, he just sneered. After that the mood changed somewhat .”

Watson last night denied any friction between themselves and the Ballingers, insisting the whole thing had been a misunderstanding.

Ruling out any future appearances and pointing the finger of blame squarely at the show’s host, he added, “The unit known as Kaye has been scheduled for termination.”

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