The Project Debater Programme from IBM is intended to prove its opinion in debates with humans. Last summer it gained an impressive victory over TV anchor Dan Zafir but met with a more challenging opponent a few days ago.\n
It was Harish Natarajan, the incumbent world debate champion. The contest took place on the IBM site in San Francisco (USA). The discussion topic, which the contestants learnt just before the debate start, was subsidizing pre-school education. They had 15 minutes for preparation in which the electronic intelligence looked through billions of theme-related articles and Harish prepared his speech plan.
The debates featured several rounds: an introductory speech (4 minutes), a rebuttal (the longest part) and a 2-minute summary.
II was in favour subsidizing pre-schools. A need for children from low income families to get education was his key argument. Harish was skeptical about the statement countering that additional funding did not guarantee an improved quality of education.
The ordinary people who attended the conference acted as referees. Most votes were cast in Natarajan’s favour, though the debate proved to be were tense and exciting. The discussion’s record is attached below.
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