IBM shares closed lower Monday, as one of the tech firm’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) projects took part in a debate with humans and successfully communicated convincing arguments. The event took place in San Francisco and was described as ground breaking and impressive.
IBM shares ended the US Monday session 0.63% lower at $144.48. the stock is also lower in pre-market trade.
IBM’s project debater impresses
IBM’s project debater AI performance was in front of an audience and it took part in two debates. One was “We should subsidize space exploration.”
Both Project Debater and the human debater, Noa Ovadia - a champion debater - each delivered a four-minute opening statement, a four-minute rebuttal, and a two-minute summary.
A second debate was held on the topic, “We should increase the use of telemedicine.” This time another Israeli expert debater, Dan Zafrir faced off against IBM’s AI.
Project Debater lost out in the first debate – by a narrow margin. However, the AI machine was declared the winner in the second against Zafrir.
Project Debater wasn’t connected to the internet for the display. Instead there were ten possible topics on offer that corresponded to data and information that had been uploaded to the machine, prior to the event.
Not a perfect performance, but bodes well for the future of AI
Project Debater’s performance wasn’t perfect – there were some repeated arguments but using slightly different words and also some slightly garbled language – attributed to some of the news articles and information uploaded into it.
However, IBM’s director of research, Arvind Krishna, said the demonstration showed that AI was moving closer towards mastering language. Not just a basic understanding, but all the nuances that are associated with inflection and context.
“Project Debater reflects the mission of IBM Research today to develop broad AI that learns across different disciplines to augment human intelligence,” Krishna said in a blog post.
“Project Debater explores new territory: it absorbs massive and diverse sets of information and perspectives to help people build persuasive arguments and make well-informed decisions,” Krishna said.
“This technology will expand upon the capabilities of IBM Watson, which is being used today by dozens of companies to mine massive, internal data sets for new business insights,” he added.