An artificial intelligence system will join influential individuals such a Bill Gates or Sir Richard Branson who gave TED talks in the past

Robots to give TED talks in new XPRIZE competition

XPRIZE has launched a competition inviting teams do develop artificially intelligent systems capable of delivering a TED talk without human intervention.

The non-profit organisation aiming to encourage mankind to solve the world’s greatest challenges has announced the new competition on its website. The public will now have a chance to help define the goals of the undertaking, including the duration of the talk, how to choose the topic and details of the evaluation process.

"Advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence have made extraordinary progress over the past decade, but we've barely scratched the surface," said Peter Diamandis, XPRIZE’s CEO. "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."

It has not been decided yet whether the artificial intelligence systems should preferably have a physical form of a robot or could be represented just by a voice. XPRIZE is now considering whether to run the competition on a regular, most likely annual, basis or just as a one-off event.

"We're entering a future in which humans and machines must learn new ways to work with each other,” said Chris Anderson, curator of TED. “My hope is this prize will fuel that process. I predict that within a few years we'll be blown away by what Artificial Intelligences can do. But that we also may learn what they can't do so well. We may discover that it's some form of human-machine collaboration that offers the most powerful prospect for creating and communicating ideas that matter. I have no idea how this ends up, but I'm incredibly excited to find out."

XPRIZE has already several disruptive projects under its belt, most notably the Google Lunar XPRIZE that has teams from across the world developing spacecraft to land on the Moon. Its other undertakings include the £10m Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, and the £2.25 million Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE, and the £2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE.

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to ideas worth spreading, which started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago and has grown since to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world's leading thinkers to speak for 18 minutes or less. In the past Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, or Sir Richard Branson were among those delivering a TED talk.

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