YANSS 223- If machines can learn how to argue with, debate, and persuade human beings, what does that say about the nature of opinion and belief?

This episode, featuring Andy Luttrell of the Opinion Science Podcast, is all about a machine, built by IBM, that can debate human beings on any issue. This machine raises a strange question. Is persuasion with language, using arguments (and the ability to alter another person’s attitudes, beliefs, values, opinions, and behavior) a uniquely human phenomenon, or could you be persuaded to change your mind by an artificial intelligence designed to do just that? If so, what does that say about opinions, our arguments, and in the end, our minds?


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From the official description over at Opinion Science:

“In 2019, IBM introduced the world to Project Debater: an AI system that could go up against humans to debate anything. In this episode, we trace Project Debater’s growth from just an idea to a fully fledged piece of technology and the public debates it’s engaged in. And it raises a bigger question: is persuasion a fundamentally human ability or is it really something that machines are capable of?

We hear from IBM engineer and project leaders Noam Slonim, expert debaters Harish Natarajan, Dan Zafrir, and Noa Ovadia, communication neuroscientist Elisa Baek, and best-selling author Daniel Pink.

To learn more about Project Debater, visit IBM’s Project Debater website and watch this great mini documentary about the system.” 


Links and Sources

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Opinion Science

Andy Luttrell