Will An Artificial Intelligence Ever Deliver A TED Talk?

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Move over Turing Test, it's time to make room for the A.I. XPRIZE. The recently announced competition will award a team who can create a machine intelligence that can deliver a TED Talk so outstanding that it would receive a standing ovation.

The contest was announced yesterday at the TED Conference in Vancouver by TED's Chris Anderson and XPRIZE's Peter Diamandis. Most of the contest details have yet to be determined, but the AI has to be onstage in whatever form that may take. In advance of the talk, a group of judges will develop 100 different possible TED Talk subjects. Then, during the conference, the audience will chose one of these subjects. Or the subject could be randomly chosen. More from TED:

The Team could decide how their A.I. would present on stage – would it be a physical robot that walks out to present? Or a disembodied voice?

After the talk, the audience would vote with their applause and, if appropriate, with a standing ovation.

Next, the A.I. would need to answer two questions from Chris Anderson, the host of the conference, and then a panel of experts would also add their votes.


The rules aren't set in stone, and TED is actively asking people to submit their ideas.

Pretty neat. It should be an exciting event when it happens. Hopefully these won't be glorified chatbots that reflexively hit databases of predetermined responses. It would be great if these systems actually did some cognition based on learning and problem-solving algorithms. I'm thinking of an expert system like IBM's Watson, but one designed to give a TED Talk.