Watch IBM's latest AI system challenge a human champion debater Staff

Published Monday, February 11, 2019 8:01PM EST

Last Updated Monday, February 11, 2019 8:27PM EST

IBM computers have beaten humans at Jeopardy! and chess. Tonight, one of the company’s artificial intelligence systems will face off against a champion debater.

The AI system, called Project Debater, is challenging 2012 European Debate Champion Harish Natarajan at 8 p.m. ET. Both were given the debate topic with just 15 minutes to prepare.

Natarajan is only the latest human to go head-to-computer against Project Debater. The AI uses voice-recognition to listen to the topic at hand. It then scans hundreds of millions of newspaper and magazine articles, decides which statements support its argument, and writes a four-minute speech.

IBM computer scientist Dan Lahav told CTV News Channel ahead of the debate that he believes Project Debater shows how computers can complement human decision making.

“Project Debater is quite good at scanning and finding relevant arguments, matching them with evidence in order to ground them and make them much stronger, being able to construct a speech which is coherent and relevant based on that,” he said.

“Obviously humans have a lot advantages such as understanding the relevance, seeing the audience … humour etc.,” he added.

IBM says that “the goal is to build a system that helps people make evidence-based decisions when the answers aren’t black-and-white.”

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