It’s Interesting How IBM’s AI Debater Sways Opinions, But Who Wins – Man Or Machine? by Forbes – Entrepreneurs

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Man versus machine..Depositphotos enhanced by CogWorld

Yes, there’s anxiety around machines taking over our jobs and even becoming smarter than us. Adding to the equation is that AI has now learnt the art of debate. The war between man and machines has begun. So, will it be Man-0, Machine-1 or Man-1, Machine-0?

Remember when chess-playing computer Deep Blue defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov? The year was 1997. It was a Man-0 Machine-1, then. It was IBM that built the amazing chess playing application. Not too long after, IBM struck again on the grounds of development, innovation and progress in the field of AI. The company has now developed an AI-powered debater machine. The AI debator has the ability to pitch coherent counter-arguments to those made by humans. The chess playing machine was trained with pre-determined chess rules, appearing to act intelligent and smarter than humans on that application. Similarly for the AI debater machine, developers have used training data including news facts, research papers, statistics, and so on, and the way the debator machine understands a topic (without any prior notice), and can argue for or against it with humans, is quite amazing.

Apart from Deep Blue and AI debater there are several other AI offerings developed by other tech leaders. Google has also successfully developed AI machines that prove themselves better than humans in different respects. If you’re aware of the Chinese Board game, Go, then you know how Google’s AlphaGo bewildered the world’s best player and ended up defeating him. Further, AI robot Libratus, which defeated the world’s best four Poker players, left more jaws dropped!

In games like Chess and Go, developers could collect lots of data on different players, their strategies, and the rules, of course. But, with Poker or AI debater, inserting proper information gets trickier. However, even with the not-so-perfect data, machines were able to beat humans, which clearly indicates that the battle between humans and machines is going to be quite interesting.

AI learns the art of debate

When we first heard about AI’s debating capabilities, we were extremely thrilled. Following thorough research, we got to know how the AI machine learned the art of debate.

The first time the machine got engaged with humans in a live debate session was in San Francisco. The topic, ‘We should subsidize space exploration’ was thrown at the debators, of which neither of the participants were aware prior. Both parties had to deliver a four-minute argument for or against the topic, followed by a two-minute conclusion. The AI debater machine initiated the argument first, which was ‘for’ the topic. The machine put forth its statement, which expressed the benefits of space exploration. The human debater then opposed the machine’s statements by saying that the government should subsidize other vital areas first, before moving to space exploration. Post conclusion, a snap election was held, which manifested that many attendees increased their knowledge base more due to the AI debater than the human one.

AI bids farewell to human debaters

As the attendees’ vote favored AI, it won the debate. However, we musn’t forget that a machine is prone to issues, now and then. It keeps repeating statements or uses phrases and quotes out of context. However, for developers, who have created such an incredible innovation, these problems are minor and can be resolved. With constant experimenting, developers come to understand the friction points and find suitable solutions to fix the issues.

Apparently, the AI debator provided coherent information to the attendees present at the event. The AI debater could understand the topic, comprehend the opponent’s statements, and then share relevant opinions based on the opponent’s comments. The quality of the debate, however, depends completely on how well the developers trained the machine, what kind of data they input, and whether they integrate other technologies like NLP and emotional AI with AI or not.

Building the machine was complicated. IBM took six years to complete this project. Still, the debater machine has not reached perfection, but the time is not far when we will encounter highly-efficient, robust, and accurate AI debater machines.   

The love-hate relationship between Man and Machine

Will AI threaten the human race or will it assist humans to perform their jobs better? While some eminent personalities like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and Isaac Asimov expressed fear and deep concern about the technology and its implications, others like Mark Zuckerberg are with the technology. The perceptions of people for AI are like the ‘half-full’ and ‘half-empty’ glass of water analogy. Some fear that AI will wipe off human existence, while others say that it will adversely impact only a few jobs.

Hollywood sci-fi movies are stimulating the debate too. In the latest Avengers movie – Age of Ultron – we have seen the consequences of machines going rogue.

To some degree, the battle between humans and AI has been ongoing, but who trains these machines? Humans, right? So, if it’s our creation, our innovation, why do we fear it? The debate on humans versus AI is getting intense day-by-day. We won’t deny that AI will eat up a few jobs, but it will also create new opportunities for people to take up more high-level jobs.

We’ve seen how big players are deriving much value out of AI already, but that does not mean that the technology is only for them. To attain success in this disruptive and competitive market, organizations, regardless of their size and domain, should effectively capitalize on AI for automating their services and increasing their operational effectiveness. In learning how trendsetting companies are leveraging AI technologies, medium-sized companies and even startups can now map out their own AI plans. But first, CIOs, CDOs, CAOs and other top executives in any organization should jointly work to examine whether the current infrastructure of the company, the talent requirements, security methods, funds, and other such crucial needs are in place or not. Post analysis of these requirements, companies should gauge how AI is making a difference for their competitors, set their goals, and accordingly strive to fulfill their objectives.

While we can’t exactly claim who will win – man or machine – we surely know that AI will bring in tremendous opportunities for companies to build a reputed brand image and deliver excellent customer value propositions in our day and age.


December 31, 2018 at 02:42AM
https://www.forbes.com/sites/cognitiveworld/2018/12/31/its-interesting-how-ibms-ai-debater-sways-opinions-but-who-wins-man-or-machine/
Forbes – Entrepreneurs
http://www.forbes.com/entrepreneurs/
http://bit.ly/2CMy7Yu