IBM AI Debater – Losing Yet Another Argument

Debating or Really Arguing with AI

By Thomas B. Cross @techtionary

The last thing I need is another argument with anyone and the idea that I will get into an argument with my device is really upsetting.  Moreover the idea of the device listening to my conversations with others and then development “debate algorithms” to use against me is really troubling.  Meanwhile IBM is already ahead of me.  “Project Debater reflects the mission of IBM Research today to develop broad AI that learns across different disciplines to augment human intelligence. AI assistants have become highly useful to us through their ability to conduct sophisticated keyword searches and respond to simple questions or requests (such as “how many ounces in a liter?” or “call Mom”). 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.”


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. The system already uses Watson Speech to Text API, and it will contribute to enhancing Watson’s advanced language and dialogue features. Project Debater’s underlying technologies will also be commercialized in IBM Cloud and IBM Watson in the future.
Building the system was a remarkably difficult and complex challenge.  Over the past six years, a global IBM Research team led by our Haifa, Israel lab endowed Project Debater with three capabilities, each breaking new ground in AI: first, data-driven speech writing and delivery; second, listening comprehension that can identify key claims hidden within long continuous spoken language; and third, modelling human dilemmas in a unique knowledge graph to enable principled arguments (read more about the technical details in the 30+ published papers with access to the training data sets here).”

Bottom-line –  Whether IBM, Facebook or anyone else using my own words against me is really seriously awful “thinking” on their part.  Is this the best use of their development efforts to build tools that really don’t make your live better would leave one to be more depressed than ever.

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