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IBM AI fails to beat human debating champion

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IBM AI fails to beat human debating champion
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Each side was given 15 minutes to prep for the debate, after which they presented a four-minute opening statement, a four-minute rebuttal, and a two-minute summary. The 100-strong audience, meanwhile, was comprised of top debaters from Bay Area schools and more than a hundred journalists.

Miss Debater (formerly known as Project Debater) pulled arguments from its database of 10 billion sentences taken from newspapers and academic journals. A female voice emanating from the human-sized black box spouted its answers, while three blue balls floated around its display.

The face-off was the latest event in IBM's "grand challenge" series pitting humans against its intelligent machines. In 1996, its computer system beat chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov , though the Russian later accused the IBM team of cheating, something that the company denies to this day -- he later retracted some of his allegations. Then, in 2011, itsWatson supercomputertrounced two record-winning Jeopardy! contestants.

In the lead-up to Monday's bout, Natarajan suggested that debating may prove a harder battleground for AI than Go and video games. "Debating is...more complicated for a machine than any of those, however. At its core, successful debating involves three components," he wrote in a LinkedIn post .

"First, a debater needs to process large amounts of information and construct relevant arguments. Second, debating involves [explaining] complicated arguments in a clear and structured way. Third, you need to make those arguments matter to the audience. This requires the careful use of language, emotions, rhetoric, and examples. While a machine should excel in the first, the latter two may be challenging."

But he also conceded that "there will come a point soon where AI will be better than humans at all three." Does that mean, he'd be game for a rematch?

Engadget
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