Ken Jennings


January 17, 2011

Back from Muppet Labs! I mean IBM. I’ve been on a lot of game show sets, but this one was really a unique experience. I’ve never played Jeopardy! with a dozen of those suction cup/electrode things taped to my chest, for one thing.

The “exhibition match” between (among?) Watson, Brad, and myself will air on Jeopardy! in February. And–win, lose, or draw–it’s important that we humans look on the bright side: Watson doesn’t have all the digits of the launch code yet!

I’ll be splitting my winnings from the match, it was announced Thursday, with VillageReach, a Seattle-based nonprofit that focuses on delivering life-saving medical supplies like vaccines to the most remote parts of the world: not just Mozambique, but the hundred-miles-from-nowhere villages at the far end of Mozambique, which is apparently the hard part of the equation. I loved these guys for so many reason: they’re local, they’re doing something slightly wonkish, they’re helping those who inarguably need it the most, and they top the GiveWell philanthropic rankings for their effectiveness and transparency in what they do. The VillageReach press release is here. If you’ve been looking for someplace where your money will do some good, I wholeheartedly recommend VillageReach. GiveWell estimates that VillageReach saves another infant’s life in Africa each time someone donates just a few hundred dollars to their cause, so it’s not hard to make a difference.

Also, while I’m plugging the very worthy, Jimmy McGuire of the Jeopardy! “Clue Crew” emceed the warmup matches, and I took advantage of the opportunity to tell him I was big fan of his work. This appeared to go over well, probably since the last time I mentioned the “Clue Crew” was five years ago: a (perhaps ill-advised) joke that they should give ritual cannibalism a try. Jimmy seemed very eager that I encourage you all to “friend” the Clue Crew on their Facebook page, whatever that is. Please support this public service provided by your local Clue Crew!

Posted by Ken at 9:37 pm