IBM Watson and X Prize Foundation are urging teams to prove AI can be positive for humans for a $5 million prize that will be awarded to the winners at the TED conference in 2020. If you wish to dismantle the words of Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, here’s your chance.
- Teams can sign up at X Prize’s website, and the official rules and guidelines will be posted in May of this year
- The final three contestants will present their projects at the TED conference in 2020
- There will be yearly interim prizes in the meantime
- The projects can range from fields such as climate change to education and healthcare
At the TED 2016 conference, Peter Diamandis from X Prize and David Kenny from IBM have placed forward a new challenge: show how artificial intelligence (AI) can be good for mankind. The topic has been widely debated in the last couple of years. It could be an excellent way for technology to lend a hand in major global problems or it could destroy us. Most have seen Terminator, so one doesn’t even need to use their imagination to figure out how.
However, the two companies are willing to sway the debate in favor of artificial intelligence. In fact, they’re offering a prize of $5 million to the team that best represents the futuristic technology. The premise is for anyone around the world to create an AI system meant to “tackle some of the world’s grand challenges”. The emphasis will be placed on its positive effect on human kind and, in essence, show that the systems will help us instead of bringing a movie-worthy apocalypse.
The participants will have until 2020’s TED conference to create their innovating technology, where only three teams will take the stage to make their final presentation. It’s fairly open competition, with contestants urged to take on issues ranging from climate change, to education and healthcare. Wherever they believe their technology can help the most, that’s where their efforts and engineering ingenuity should focus.
The grand prize is 4 years away, so there is time for teams to get creative and start working on the AI that will help make the world a better place. In the meantime though, X Prize will be offering awards each year. So, those participating can still win money while their project is in development, which would be excellent at further funding their technology.
In the press release, IBM stated that they believe artificial intelligence will be the most important technology of our lifetime. There is tremendous potential in the field with so little of it developed. This “cognitive computing competition” is going to challenge teams to show how AI and humans could collaborate with positive effects. The point is to show that it’s not a tool of evil, and it can be beneficial to mankind.
Of course, it’s also in the wake of numerous discussions on how far scientists should take it. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the construction of autonomous AI weapons that will target and fire without human consent. That, in particular, has been the cause of an uproar from the scientific community. They claimed that a machine will be too objective, and will be unable to register that the amount of collateral victims will not be worth killing their target.
It cannot be created into algorithm. How can one make a formula of how many innocents could be killed for the purpose of eliminating one threat? The answer should be ‘none’, but unfortunately that’s now how things work. An AI could make matters worse, by being unable to comprehend mercy or compassion.
IBM and X Prize mean to show that there is a good side to AI. It could help us, do some good, and those who are willing to take on the challenge have a hefty award waiting for them.
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