Meet the Debate Champ who Challenged and Partnered with IBM Project Debater

Harish Natarajan, the 2016 World Debating Championships Grand Finalist and 2012 European Debate Champion, can claim something no other person in the world can — he has both debated against and debated with IBM Project Debater.

Harish Natarajan listening to Project Debater earlier this year at the IBM THINK conference in San Francisco.
Harish Natarajan at the IBM THINK conference taking on Project Debater.

“At this stage, at least, it looks likely that the real future of AI is to augment human’s, rather than to fully replace us.”

But lets say that AI can replace humans in the vast majority of activities — what happens then? In some ways this is the fear of a dystopian future, where the returns on capital are high, and those that control capital are the beneficiaries. That future though extrapolates a lot from the present, imagining capital almost in factory form. Our smartphones can play chess now as well as Deep Blue, and its certainly possible that many of the returns from AI could be captured by small and generally available technology. Maybe we’ll be able to do most things with our own personal AI software, and then the fears of mass inequality or deprivation are overstated. These are very important questions to ask and to be aware of, but I think we should be careful in assuming that we know the answers.

Project Debater in the middle of the stage at IBM THINK Febuary.

This is the official Medium account of IBM Research.