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Watson Analyzes This: Best Bitter

Stefano Giovannini

IBM’s Watson computer system, which you may remember from the decidedly one-sided man vs. machine Jeopardy! series when it was first unveiled, is now trying its hand as a psychoanalyst. Personality Insights takes sample text and returns a “spectrum of cognitive and social characteristics.” With Watson Analyzes This, we see what Watson has to say about our beers from their Beers Page description, then run our own, human-powered analysis of its work.

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On the Couch: Best Bitter
Sleeper Status: Undeniable
Favorite Sherlock Holmes Adaptation: The BBC version
Favorite Wrestler: The Undertaker

Watson Says:

You are shrewd, somewhat critical and explosive. You prefer to challenge authority and traditional values to help bring about positive changes. You are appreciative of art: you enjoy beauty and seek out creative experiences. And you are organized: you feel a strong need for structure in your life.

You are motivated to seek out experiences that provide a strong feeling of discovery. You are relatively unconcerned with both tradition and achieving success. You care more about making your own path than following what others have done. And you make decisions with little regard for how they show off your talents.

Dr. Rozmus Says:

I swear, Watson, you had me totally with you up front until you got to that nihilistic second paragraph. Cheer up, my digital friend!

First, let’s give credit where credit is due: “explosive” is a wonderful word to describe a cask ale like Best Bitter. There’s nothing quite like smashing in a tap with a large mallet, and the inevitable spray of beer is a reward for a job well done. Best Bitter encapsulates that tradition, and with the amount of respect that tradition has earned, your mention of structure is a great point.

But Watson, what’s all this about being “unconcerned with success” and not trying to show off talents? Best Bitter has “Best” right there in the title, for crying out loud! It stands as a shining example of and tribute to the greatest of British real ales, and does a damn fine job of showing off the style. It’s not cocky, sure, but don’t mistake the restraint of a job well done for apathy.

I’m telling you, Watson, one day we’re going to be able to fit your big ol’ supercomputer brain in a laptop that can drink. And when you try cask ales, you’ll see what you got wrong about Best Bitter.

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