IBM Think 2019 – Project Debater Ends Worries about AI Winter

IBM Project Debater crushed the Turing Test earlier this week and left me with the impression that there is a lot of Life in IBM’s Artificial Intelligence program. Hosted at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, IBM invited a number of press, analysts, and other industry experts to witness an incredible debate between AI and a top human debater, as we have never seen before. The degree of understanding of the human language of IBM’s new Project Debater AI (I think branding will need some improvement) was nothing short of stunning. This deep language understanding enabled the AI to dig deep into research statistics, easily dwarfing the ability of any human trying to surface and qualify the best scientific studies on a topic within only 15 minutes. These studies were dead on, containing data points that exactly addressed the individual issues within the debate.

At the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, IBM showed the ability of its AI to match the capabilities of a world-class human debater.

Winning Was Irrelevant – The AI Held its Ground

Harish Natarajan, the human debate champion, of course, showed an incredible level of structure in his thoughts but did by no means outperform the AI, despite him ultimately winning the competition. However, this debate was not about winning, but IBM  showed the ability of its AI to truly enrich and enhance human thought processes. Using project debater as your assistant who constantly listens to your business arguments and customer communication, you would constantly be able to delight your clients with fresh ideas, more choices, and a generally balanced viewpoint on most issues.

I will continue to cover IBM Project Debater in the future and hope to find out why we cannot (yet?) try it out by giving it our own debate topics. However, I left San Francisco a little more certain that we will avoid another AI winter in the near future.

For more interesting news from IBM Think 2019, here is a link to my blog post.

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