New AI Is Designed to Debate People, and It Could Ruin Social Media

IBM’s Project Debater, a powerful AI algorithm designed to challenge the most skilled human minds at speech and debate, is stronger than ever.

The autonomous debating system, as it’s described in a research paper published in the journal Nature last week, can stitch together coherent and convincing arguments from the content of millions of news articles. The tech is getting more and more sophisticated, according to ScienceAlert, and that has us dreading how much of a nightmare social media — or any online comments section — might become if Project Debater were ever actually unleashed on the public.

Project Debater has come a long way since its public demo back in 2019. However, it still can’t stitch together arguments capable of besting skilled human debaters, University of Dundee researcher Chris Reed, who isn’t part of the Project Debater team, wrote in a commentary also published in Nature last week.

But to be fair, neither can most other humans — and we can’t help but imagine the horrible black hole of endless back-and-forths that people would get sucked into online should an algorithm like Project Debater ever make its way to the public. Online trolls aren’t exactly masters of the craft either, and just think about how much time gets wasted on them.

And the bottom line is that even if it’s not Project Debater that picks endless fights online, it will probably be something.

“More than 50 laboratories worldwide are working on the problem, including teams at all the large software corporations,” Reed wrote in his commentary.

To prepare ourselves, we should all perhaps start thinking about how to choose our battles. Before you get sucked into another online argument, keep in mind it might just be some bot on the other end that will endlessly engage in the fight until you just walk away — or waste hours screaming into the digital void.

READ MORE: This New AI Exists For The Sole Purpose of Arguing With Humans [ScienceAlert]

More on Project Debater: A Human Debater Just Roasted IBM’s “Intelligent Debate” AI Onstage