In a way, Debater follows IBM’s philosophy of constructing a man plus machine future, one in which AI augments and supports rather than succeeds us humans. IBM is next working on commercializing Debater’s core system for business ventures, for example, helping journalists or even governments explain contested issues—for which there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong—and thus making the public better informed. Unlike most AI, Debater can grasp the messiness of the real world, rather than games or toy problems. “We are going out of the comfort zone of AI into territory which is more gray,” said project leader Noam Slonim.
Taking jobs from lawyers will be the least of it. The truth is, we all deserve AI like this to protect us from the flood of misinformation around us.
If the few own this power, we are lost. If this is weaponized before we have AI defenses then our information systems will collapse.
We don’t need this AI to tell us the truth. We need it to protect us from lies.
Painting by Simon Stålenhag