For a machine to comprehend an argument and then pose a counter-argument to a human in a debate requires a deep understanding of languages, its infinite nuances and very precise stance identification. This is not always easy for humans and is certainly very difficult for computers.
Approximately, six months ago, IBM’s Project Debater squared off against a human champion debater. Project Debater is the first AI system that can debate with humans on complex topics. This project was the result of several years of research to master human language. Today, Project Debater’s knowledge base consists of around 10 billion sentences, taken from newspapers and journals.
The success of Debater opens up a whole bunch of opportunities ranging from intelligent speech assistants to solving customer queries for enterprises.
Can Debater’s Success Translate Into Commercial Applications?
The capabilities of IBM’s debater have been developed over the course of the project and the team has published more than 30 research papers to document and share what they’ve learned.
The research covers a wide range of topics like using weak supervision to learn abstract concepts, emphatic speech and sentiment analysis. Along with this research, the team also made their datasets accessible to the public.
The growing need for smarter conversational agents has seen a sporadic growth over the past couple of years.
For enterprises, especially those which rely on CRM, conversational agents offer a variety of opportunities and an unprecedented connection with the customers.
Machines that understand language are being used for chatbots, speech assistants where the user can get their grievances settled or approved loan just by answering a few yes or no questions.
The success of IBM’s Debater can have implications for these enterprises. chatbots, if run on Debater’s algorithm can have long, smooth conversations with the customers and help acquire real-time feedback.
Future Of Debates With AI
More often than not, an average person gets most of the information happening around the world through a few popular media outlets like Twitter or Facebook.
The posts on these online platforms are sometimes doctored to fit the narratives of the few and users are often caught off guard.
According to IBM, in the future, Debater can be used to establish a platform to promote more civil debates in online comment forums or by an attorney preparing for a trial where it could review legal precedents and test the strengths and weaknesses of a case using a mock legal debate.
Whereas, in the financial services industry, projects like Debater could identify financial facts that either support or undermine an investment strategy. Or it could be applied as a voice interaction layer for various complex customer experiences, or even to improve critical thinking and critical writing skills of youngsters.
These applications can pave the way for a future where people can have healthy debates without the danger of running into self-made echo chambers.
In what can be a possible future scenario, we might see the presidential debates hosted by AI instead of some biased news anchors who come to the dais with their own agenda. AI can be fed with all the grievances of the public and it can form a list of queries to ask the candidates, without any reluctance.
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