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Price is Right Robot Contestant Malfunctions, Catches Fire
Two weeks after an IBM computer wiped the Jeopardy studio floor with two human contestants, a robot designed at an ITT Technical Institute in Culver City tried its tin-plated hand on The Price is Right yesterday morning.
Dubbed "Biddy" by its inventors, the robot was selected from a group of rowdy ITT Tech students to, "come on down" to be a contestant on the show after the program's first intermission – then failed to even get close to an accurate estimate of the retail price of any of the initial prizes for four consecutive opening rounds.
"She bid $8,578 for a pair of his and her snowboards, which was kind of a head-slapper," recounted co-inventor Matt Egan, "A more glaring deficiency, however, was her inability to recognize the advantage of filling gaps in her opponents bid ranges. For instance, instead of bidding $901 on a set of patio furniture when two other contestants had bid $900 and $1150, she goes and bids $1050 like an idiot. Twice she lost because of that, and the most annoying thing was how obvious it was that she never even processed what a stupid pile of junk she was."
After finally qualifying from contestant's row, Biddy played a pricing game entitled "Higher or Lower", which despite demanding nothing more from its player than to guess the price of an item, then follow the host's cues of either "higher" or "lower" to the actual price before time runs out, caused Biddy to experience a fatal error and begin to smoke.
"In that instance Biddy's operating system should have triggered a deductive process to solve the query rather than wasting time requesting additional input from an audience full of jabbering imbeciles," conceded Egan.
Yet another apparent glitch saw Biddy elect to spin the big wheel a second time after initially landing on 85 cents, during which time she took the opportunity to say hello to a karaoke machine in West Hollywood. Biddy's seeming shortage of intelligence was rewarded however, as her second spin landed on 10 cents, qualifying her for the Showcase Showdown.
Her brief good luck notwithstanding, Biddy succumbed to the common temptation of opting to bid on the more expensive, and therefore more difficult, showcase, and went home with nothing other than a four piece drum kit after bidding $24,568 on a showcase containing a new Ford Explorer, a seven day trip to South Africa, and a pair of jet skis – a collection of prizes worth $40,155.
"Twenty-four grand for all that stuff? The car alone is twenty-four grand! How do you bid eight thousand for a couple of snowboards, and less than twenty-five for a car, vacation and a bunch of jet skis? What a blundering bag of bolts," Egan vented.
Show host Drew Carey ventured that, if it was any consolation, the ITT team did succeed in creating a robotic version of an average Price is Right contestant.
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