IBM Robot Discusses Dangers of Artificial Intelligence at Cambridge

IBM AI debate Cambridge
James Brooks/AP

The 200-year-old Cambridge Union debating club featured an IBM robot as one of the debaters during a recent conversation about dangers posed by AI.

According to a report by Fortune, the storied Cambridge Union hosted IBM’s Project Debater robot during a conversation this week about the dangers posed by artificial intelligence.

IBM’s Project Debater, who has been in development since 2012, synthesized over 1,000 human arguments on the dangers of artificial intelligence. Project Debater, then, created its own arguments on both sides of the debate. The robot assisted two human teams as they debated the positive and negative consequences of society infused with AI.

“Project Debater is the first AI system that can debate humans on complex topics. Project Debater digests massive texts, constructs a well-structured speech on a given topic, delivers it with clarity and purpose, and rebuts its opponent,” the IBM website claims. “Eventually, Project Debater will help people reason by providing compelling, evidence-based arguments and limiting the influence of emotion, bias, or ambiguity.”

The robot offered the opening statement for each sides of the debate. After that, human team members took over and expanded upon the opening statements that Project Debater made for each side.

Earlier this year, IBM’s Project Debater squared off against Harish Natarajan, who is considered by some to be the world’s best debater due to a series of competitive debating wins at events around the globe. Judges ruled that Natarajan beat the debating robot in a debate on whether or not the government should subsidize pre-school education. Natarajan also participated in the Cambridge Union event with Project Debater on the team that argued that artificial intelligence will have a positive impact on society.

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