By Joel Hruska
Over the past few years, AI has gone from a niche topic to an exploding field. AI can improve audio and video quality, animate still images of long-dead people, and identify you from an analprint. One thing it hasn’t been able to do? Argue effectively within the context of a formal debate.
To overcome this problem, IBM created Project Debater, an AI development program focused on exactly what it sounds like. Many AI projects, especially those focusing on gaming, have a clear winner and a loser based on the evaluation of numerical criteria, such as pieces captured, lives lost, or the ratio between kills and deaths. Effectively debating a human requires a vastly different skill set.
A recent paper in Nature describes the results of a 2019 test between Project Debater and globally recognized debate champion Harish Natarajan. The AI and individual debated whether preschool should be subsidized. Each side was given 15 minutes for prep time without additional internet access, which Project Debater used to sort through its own internal database of content. Both sides gave a four-minute speech, followed by a two-minute closing statement.Continue reading… “IBM Built an AI Capable of Holding Its Own Against Humans in a Debate”