Artificial Intelligence challenge: Could a robot give its own TED talk?

New X Prize, TED competition wants TED-worthy robot presenters

x prize
Without a doubt the most presentations and presenters for that matter at any given TED conference deliver leading edge material.  And now that group - who's tag line if "Ideas worth Spreading" - wants to make them even more advanced by challenging the Artificial Intelligence community to develop a thinking robot to deliver a TED presentation.

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The TED organization has teamed with competition extraordinaires at X Prize to develop a contest whose ultimate goal would be to have an AI-based robot "deliver a compelling TED Talk with no human involvement."

Now this competition at this point is more of an idea - there is no money behind it yet and the groups are actively soliciting public input on what the parameters of such a competition would be. 

X Prize posted this concept of what the competition might look like  stating "elements of this concept may or may not be used. We'd like to hear your ideas:"

  • In advance of the TED Conference, a group of judges develop 100 different TED Talk subjects.
  • During the TED Conference, the TED Audience chooses one of these subjects (or the subject is randomly chosen) and then the competing A.I. is given 30 minutes to prepare a compelling 3 min TED Talk.
  • 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.
  • Each year at the TED Conference, an interim prize would be offered for the best A.I. presentation until such time that an A.I. truly delivers a spectacular TED Talk, and the A.I. XPRIZE presented by TED winner is crowned.
  • Other thoughts: How should the TED Talk topic be chosen? How long should the talk be? How should the competition be judged? Will the AI be a physical robot that walks, or rolls, on stage to present or will it be a disembodied voice? Should the competition be an annual occurrence in which the best-of-the-year is awarded, or should it be a first-to-win competition in which the first team to demonstrate certain criteria will then take the TED stage?

"Advances in machine learning and AI have made extraordinary progress over the past decade, but we've barely scratched the surface," said Diamandis. "This global competition could help spur its development across a myriad of areas - including biological research, exploration, education, healthcare, and fields we have not yet even imagined," Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of X Prize.

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X Prize has a number of ongoing competitions including the  Google Lunar XPRIZE a $30 million challenge that will award $20 million to the first private company to land on the moon.  The $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE challenges competitors to develop a wireless healthcare device.

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