What is Watson, the machine that’s aiming to give “Jeopardy!’s” most brilliant minds a run for their money?

That’s the answer to the game show’s big upcoming stunt-casting question.

The IBM-created artificial intelligence — three years in the making, named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson — will appear on-air alongside “Jeopardy!” champs Ken Jennings (won 74 games in a row) and Brad Rutter (won almost $3.3 million) over the course of three nights, beginning Feb. 14.

Just like the humans, Watson, which operates off a sophisticated “Question Answering” AI system, will have to buzz in and quickly provide answers on a variety of topics.




And it’ll do it without the benefit of an Internet hook-up.

Unlike IBM’s previous AI effort, the chess-playing Deep Blue that essentially used math to best Garry Kasparov back in 1997, Watson analyzes question structure — including puns, slang and acronyms — to come up with a response it’s confident with, based on millions of pages of info it’s stored away.

When nothing comes to its virtual mind, Watson won’t take any risks with wild guesses.

“Jeopardy!’s” man-versus-machine matches carry a first place prize of $1 million. If Watson wins, the money will be donated to charity.