IBM shows debate between human and Project Debater-ai




IBM demonstrated a project under the name Project Debater during an event in San Francisco. The system entered into debate with a human being and was able to present his own arguments to a thesis.

The Guardian, one of the news organizations attending the event, writes that IBM has been working on Project Debater for six years. During the demonstration, which was divided into a number of closely delimited parts such as an introduction of four minutes and a further four minutes of refutation, the AI ​​had to defend, for example, the thesis that more subsidies for space travel are needed. Although the AI ​​did not always reason clearly and sometimes did not speak naturally, the system would have been able to present its arguments.

With this IBM wanted to show that the system can process large data sets with information and convert them into spoken arguments. According to the newspaper, the datasets consisted, among other things, of millions of news articles. The New York Times, also present at the event, writes that Project Debater is able to enter into a debate on 100 topics. An IBM researcher tells the newspaper that the system can hold a ‘meaningful’ debate on these topics in about forty percent of cases.

On a page about the project, IBM provides an overview of the different areas of research that are important for the development of the system, such as identifying arguments in a document and generating new arguments, as well as determining whether an argument is a certain proposition supports and assigning a score to an argument. The project builds on Watson, the system that in 2011 was able to win the final round of the American game show Jeopardy.


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