$5 Million for Helping Humanity through Artificial Intelligence

IBM Watson A.I. XPRIZE contest will reward $5 million in prize money to the best applications of AI in solving world’s greatest challenges.

The building momentum around Artificial Intelligence technology is leading to euphoria as well as fear. On one side, tech giants such as Google, Facebook, IBM, Amazon, and Apple as well as leading research labs are pushing the AI capabilities. On the other side, there is considerable skepticism about the ability to limit the implementation of increasingly powerful AI technology to pro-humanity activities. In other words, the biggest challenge for AI lies outside the technology arena, in the minds and hearts of people. How can we achieve a prosperous, sustainable future through AI and human collaboration? ibm-watson-ai-xprize To promote the innovative applications of AI for solving real-world problems in the fields of healthcare, climate change, education, and energy, IBM and XPRIZE announced the “IBM Watson A.I. XPRIZE, a Cognitive Computing Challenge” at TED2016 in Vancouver, Canada. This would be a $5 million competition where teams from across the world will compete to develop powerful cognitive technologies aimed at world’s greatest challenges.

Sharing his thoughts on this competition, Peter Diamandis, XPRIZE Foundation chairman, said: “I’m sick and tired of the dystopian vision of artificial intelligence. AI is one of the most important inventions we will create to solve humanity’s grand challenges, to understand the potential the future provides for us.”

The competition will run until 2020, where the teams would face-off at IBM’s yearly conference, World of Watson, resulting in some eliminations and interim prizes (adding up to $500,000). Eventually, three finalists will be selected to demonstrate their ideas at TED 2020. The winning team will get $4.5 million at TED stage to pursue its ideas. While the evaluation during prelims would be focused on technical validity, the evaluation during the final stage will be based on the audacity of their mission and the quality of their AI’s talk that will sway the vote and decide the winner.

artificial-intelligence One of the key aspects of this competition is its open-ended scope. The competing teams can pick up any world problem that they would like to address through AI. So, it seems that there would be few limitations regarding what to do and how to do, as far as it meets the overall theme of using AI to solve problems that are relevant across the world.

IBM believes this competition can accelerate the creation of “landmark breakthroughs that deliver new, positive impacts to peoples’ lives, and the transformation of industries and professions.”

“Typical of all XPRIZE competitions, the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE will crowdsource solutions from some of the most brilliant thinkers and entrepreneurs around the world, creating true exponential impact,” according to the XPRIZE Foundation.

Pre-registration is open. However, the detailed guidelines will be announced on May 15, 2016.

Let’s hope for some disrupting breakthroughs in human-machine collaboration through this initiative!