Over the past two decades, computers have surpassed humans in chess, quizzes and even playing in go. The next top resigned to the algorithm developed by IBM, which was able to surpass the man in the skill of conducting debates.
The system, named Project Debater, showed its skills in a special press event. During the demonstration, the algorithm conducted two rounds of debates with people and won in one of them.
In the first round, rivals discussed the need for government support for space research, and two people from several dozen spectators gave a victory to Noah Ovadia, a debate specialist who opposed state support for the space industry. However, in the second round, where the master of the Dan Zafrir debate competed with the computer, nine spectators immediately named the IBM algorithm as the winner, who convinced them of the need for the development of telemedicine.
The development of the Project Debater since 2011 was carried out by the IBM research laboratory in Haifa (Israel). The creators taught the algorithm various methods of conducting debates, but the system is engaged in searching for information relevant to the topic of specific debates independently before they begin. For this, the algorithm uses a database of 300 million news articles and scientific papers. At the same time, the program does not just need to find facts and data, but also listen to the interlocutor in order to formulate a counterargument.
During the debate, the program, speaking in a pleasant female voice, successfully demonstrated its skills. The algorithm not only used phrases from the database, but also built its own. Also, Project Debater showed that it is not without a sense of humor: the algorithm successfully inserted a joke in its performance.
The debate was not without gaffes. Thus, during the discussion of the topic of space, the program stated that subsidizing space research is more important than building good roads, as well as developing education and health. In the debate between the two politicians, such an argument would severely undermine the chances of one of the opponents to win.
Nevertheless, the development of IBM was very impressive for the public. According to one of the experts, the algorithm successfully used information for conducting debates, did not allow grammatical errors, and even showed the ability to foresee the opponent’s arguments and warn them.
Image credit: Screenshot YouTube