News & Opinion | June 19, 2018 9:16 am

In Groundbreaking Display, AI Machine Successfully Debates Humans

IBM's "Project Debater" more than held its own in a live debate of surprise topics.

IBM
Project Debater in action (BBC)

IBM’s Project Debater held its own and then some against a human’s argument in a groundbreaking display of artificial intelligence. The machine was not connected to the Internet, but drew from a library of “hundreds of millions of documents,” like newspaper articles and academic journals, to form its responses. Neither the machine nor the human knew the topics beforehand. The audience in San Francisco event that watched the event said the the human had better delivery, but that the machine offered greater substance for its arguments. IBM’s main goal of the project is to augment human beings to make decisions quickly and with more data than ever before, reports BBC. 

Noa Ovadia, one of the human debaters at the event and Israel’s national debating champion in 2016, said that she is very optimistic about how humans respond to facts and figures.

“I think eventually when it can do what we do but better, that’ll be great thing for the human race—for informed decision-making, for informed voting, for informed everything,” Ovadia told BBC.