IBM has been in the technology business for decades and they’ve finally developed a new artificial intelligence system that has the capability of composing logical arguments. It’s a major breakthrough in AI technology, but it’s one that has both positive and not so positive connotations. It’s almost surreal that a machine has the capacity to set up an argument that makes sense and to defend its position. Here’s what we’ve learned about the new system so far.
IBM’s new AI system
The name of the new artificial intelligence system is Project Debater Speech by Crowd. I was just recently unveiled at the CES technology showcase. The system was fully active and showing the crowds how well it can develop arguments that are both persuasive and lengthy. The topic chosen for the system was regarding the legality of gambling. It tackled both sides of the argument with logical reasons both for and against the legalization of gambling. This was just one of the topics. It also debated about the development of autonomous cars in a later exhibition.
How Project Debater works
The AI system has not yet been sophisticated to the point of forming its own opinions on topics, but it does think and communicate in the ways that humans do with regard to logic sequencing. It operates through a complex system of categorizing information that is input by humans and analyzing the data to form arguments. It can recognize key statements and process a logical argument based upon the information that is available to the system. It runs on an algorithm that scans the arguments supplied and searches for keywords alog with language to organize speeches which are based on the data that it analyzes.
Not far from human capabilities
When you consider the fact that Project Debater operates by processing the data that it is given, how far removed is this from the way that humans use cognition? While the new AI system is limited in the ways that it can process and human reasoning is far more advanced, when you think about it, we are only able to process information on the things that we come to know.
The current issues in further development
Advanced AI systems have difficulty working with language. The definitions are the easy part. What makes it tough is the fact that there isn’t a system that can grasp the subtle nuances of language, nor understand the emotions behind certain words or phrases. Sarcasm is perhaps one of the hardest things for a computer system to process. The system is currently more of a compiler, analyzing tool and processor than anything else, but it still represents progress in the tech world.
What is ahead for AI technology?
If you would have predicted that this advanced type of technology would become a reality fifty years ago, there are a lot of people who would have been skeptical. It was the thing that science fiction books and films were made of. The futuristic fantasies of the past have now become a reality in the present day. With the rapid speed at which technology is advancing, we’ve learned as a society not to prejudge what is possible and what is not.
We’re not yet at the point to where advanced AI systems can develop their own opinions, but we may not be far from it. It’s all about perspective. If a system is plugged in to a large enough knowledge base that it can efficiently analyze and process, the sky may be the limit on what it can potentially accomplish in the years to come. Who knows, we may advance to the stage of AI forms that will be able to perform a type of decision making based on a wealth of available data.
AI technology can already use raw data to develop arguments that are more persuasive than what some humans can do. It’s not a far stretch to imagine that soon, someone, somewhere will create a program that will address the current issues that are holding the tech back from becoming a smarter system that can think on its own. This is the part that we find to be a bit on the frightening side. Do we really want machines that can think and form their own opinions? Access to a radical data set could result in catastrophe, but that’s not a concern that we’re facing…yet.