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Harish Natarajan defeats IBM AI in debate

ibm vs Harish natarajan

IBM’s Miss Debater AI lost against champion debater Harish Natarajan at IBM’s Think Conference in San Francisco. Quick retorts were exchanged between The 2012 European Debate winner and IBM’s black monolith on the topic of Pre-school subsidies for 25 minutes. Ultimately Natarajan was chosen as the winner.

With only 15 minutes to prepare for the clash, each had to present a four-minute opening statement, a four-minute rebuttal, and a two-minute summary. The audience comprised of top debaters from Bay Area schools and more than a hundred journalists summing up to 700 people.

Miss Debater who was earlier called Project Debater had a database of 10 billion sentences taken from various newspapers and academic journals. A female voice relayed the anwers from the human-sized black box. It was IBM’s latest “grand challenge” event where humans are pitted against their intelligent machines. Their computer system had defeated chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov in 1996 though it was never brought to a conclusion till date.

“Debating is…more complicated for a machine than any of those, however. At its core, successful debating involves three components,” wrote Natarajan in a LinkedIn post.

But he also stated that “There will come a point soon where AI will be better than humans at all three.”

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