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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

IBM’s machine argues, pretty convincingly, with humans

BBC News

On a stage in San Francisco, IBM’s Project Debater spoke, listened and rebutted a human’s arguments in what was described as a groundbreaking display of artificial intelligence.

The machine drew from a library of “hundreds of millions” of documents - mostly newspaper articles and academic journals - to form its responses to a topic it was not prepared for beforehand.

Its performance was not without slip-ups, but those in attendance made clear their thoughts when voting on who did best. 

While the humans had better delivery, the group agreed, the machine offered greater substance in its arguments. 

That, IBM said, spoke to the heart of its goal: augmenting human beings to make decisions quickly and with more data than ever before.

“I think it says actually very optimistic things about how humans respond to facts and figures,” said Noa Ovadia, one of the human debaters at the event. 

“I think they are important, but they’re not everything when we make up our argumentation.”

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