Technology

XPRIZE And IBM Announce $5 Million Artificial Intelligence Competition

February 18, 2016 | by Kristy Hamilton

Photo credit: Willyam Bradberry/Shutterstock

The X Prize Foundation and IBM have officially launched a global artificial intelligence competition that provides participants with the chance to compete for $5 million. The contest, dubbed “IBM Watson A.I. XPRIZE: A Cognitive Computing Competition,” was announced this morning at TED2016.

The competition invites teams from around the world to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in order to brainstorm a solution to some of the planet's most pressing problems.

“X Prize believes that artificial intelligence is the best tool in our toolkit to address the world’s grand challenges and biggest problems,” said Stephanie Wander, X Prize development associate and lead prize designer, to IFLScience.

Which grand problem will the developers have to tackle? That’s what sets this contest apart from X Prize's previous competitions. This time, the participants call the shots, designing their own solution to a challenge of their choosing. The only guideline is that it remains in the realm of AI-Human collaboration.  

Although the prize winners will not be announced until 2020, there’s more to the competition in the lead up to the big day. Each year, teams will compete for interim prizes and advancement to next year’s contest.

Meron Gribetz speaks at TED2016 - Dream, February 15-19, 2016, Vancouver Convention Center, Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman​

While the ultimate goal is to incentivize AI innovation and to tap into the power of competition, Wander also hopes it will “combat the dystopian narrative” and “be a slightly different voice in the marketplace and take a stand for the really important things that we think is going to come out of artificial intelligence.”

The top three finalists will go head-to-head at TED2020, where they will give a presentation and try to sway the TED audience and judges in their favor in order to be crowned the grand prize winner.

All in all, X Prize's hope is two-fold: Technological advancement and a more positive shift in perception toward artificial intelligence.

“The AI story is very black and white and we want to tell a more colorful story,” said Wander. “AI is too important not to develop.”

X Prize will announce the competition's full guidelines in May. Interested participants can pre-register here

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