IBM says AI debate loss is still a win

IBM's Project Debater loses to human champ

"The topic of the debate related to whether or not preschools should be subsidized; an area in which audiences stated that Natarajan effectively enriched their knowledge about the topic and ultimately resulted in him beating the A.I. Despite Project Debater's loss, A.I. scientist Noam Slonim who was the lead investigator on the project was impressed with the A.I.'s performance". First debuted in a small closed-door event in June 2018, Project Debater will now face its toughest opponent yet in front of its largest-ever audience, with our own John Donvan in the moderator's seat. Four, AI systems can be used to engage in neutral debates that are backed by data and multiple studies.

At the end, the machine could not out-argue Natarajan but it drove home many points. In the battle of arguments, a human has defeated IBM's AI-based debating system.

"The vision around Project Debater is how do we develop the technology", Project Debater manager Ranit Aharonov said. One, AI machines can engage humans in a debate on complex topics. It would be interesting to see how AI-based systems operate in the future. Natarajan commented on the A.I.'s abilities stating: "What struck me was the potential value for Debater because of the amount of knowledge it can grasp". There was a silver lining for the bot: in a post-debate poll, nearly 60 percent of the audience said Project Debater had enriched their knowledge on the subject, with Natarajan's corresponding rate only 20 percent. It then tries to capture "the gist" of the opponent's arguments before plumbing the depths of its memory for counterpoints. This enables it to debate on many different issues, provided they are well-covered and explained in the corpus where the system was trained. Since then, IBM had been trying to improve Debater's rebuttal capabilities.

Although both sides had only 15 minutes to prepare after being informed about the topic, only Project Debater had the advantage of being able to speedily look up 10 billion sentences' worth of publications from news articles and academic research, the human champion still reigned supreme.

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"It's really pushing the boundaries [of the] kinds of AI systems that are more interactive with us and can understand us better", IBM Research director Dario Gil said Monday on CNN's First Move. Project Debater argued in favour of subsidising pre-schools.

"Former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam said in 1973, 'Preschool is the greatest single aid in removing or modifying the inequalities of background, environment, family income or family nationality", Project Debater told the audience during its opening remarks, borrowing from a 1972 speech.

Gil noted prior to the debate kicking off that the machine was never going to be flawless.

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