New competition to build the world's coolest artificial intelligence could win you US$5 million

By Brian Fung

Virginia Rometty, chief executive officer of International Business Machines. Photo / Bloomberg
Virginia Rometty, chief executive officer of International Business Machines. Photo / Bloomberg

A new, multi-year competition to build the world's coolest artificial intelligence could win you US$5 million.

The prize for the challenge comes from IBM, TED and the X Prize Foundation, who want to stimulate research on AI "to tackle some of the world's grand challenges".

To win, all you have to do is build an artificial intelligence that can accomplish something tremendous and important -- what that challenge is will be up to you. Oh, and you'll be judged by TED and X Prize on the strength of the TED talk you give to present your project -- if you make it that far.

Only three teams will enjoy that privilege.

X Prize is responsible for some of the loftiest research challenges on and off the planet.

It's behind the world's first private space race to reach the moon -- last year, an Israeli team marked a major milestone when it said its lunar lander had scored a seat on an upcoming rocket launch.

Partnering with Qualcomm, X Prize is also running a US$10 million competition to produce the real-life version of the medical tricorder from Star Trek, which can diagnose health issues with the wave of a wand.

This latest competition on AI and cognitive computing appears to draw inspiration from a previous X Prize contest announced in 2014, also in partnership with TED. That project initially proposed having an AI actually give a TED talk, and the winning AI would be the one that received a standing ovation.

This year's announcement seems a little more open-ended, and we could find it going in any number of directions by the time it concludes in 2020. Along the way, contestants will have the chance to compete for interim prizes each year.

It's time to put your robot thinking caps on and get to work.

- Washington Post

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