IBM’s Project Debater showcases next-gen AI-driven productivity

Disclosure: IBM is a client of the author.

I’ve been following IBM’s Watson effort since the beginning — and its initial focus on winning the game Jeopardy. This early effort was just a taste of what this platform could do.

Years later, I attended the introduction of Project Debater, which took the platform to a debate competition against a top human debater. Like the initial computer chess match, the computer lost. But, unlike chess, the loss was subjective. If I had been a judge, I would have been more likely to award Watson the win, given the computer responses was more entertaining, more accurate, and arguably more interesting than the positions put forth by the human. 

Years have passed since that San Francisco event. Now, a current version of Project Debater can craft arguments on various topics and change the stance of opposing views in a debate on telemedicine.  Imagine if this same capability were provided to politicians or corporate execs arguing for a particular strategy at an executive retreat. 

Let’s talk about how technology like this could make a company more productive.

The cost of bad decisions

Over the years, I’ve watched some of the most potent companies brought low due to avoidable mistakes.  Often these mistakes were the result of two things: Confirmation Bias by leaders who only accept information that matches their position, and Argumentative Theory, which places prevailing in an argument ahead of being right. 

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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