AI's image gets a makeover, thanks to a $4.5 million prize from IBM and XPrize

XPrize Foundation founder Peter Diamandis and IBM Watson general manager David Kenny have announced the launch of the IBM Watson A.I. Xprize: A Cognitive Computing Competition. The competition, which features a $4.5 million prize, encourages teams to demonstrate AI's positive potential and how it can impact humanity.

According to TechCrunch: "The open-ended nature of this particular competition means that participants can choose to work with AI technology in a number of areas, from climate change to education to healthcare, the organizers noted. The goal is to demonstrate how humans can collaborate with cognitive and A.I. technologies capable of solving some of the world’s grand challenges."

The winning AI must give a presentation at the 2020 TED conference showing "how humans can collaborate with powerful cognitive technologies to tackle some of the world’s grand challenges."

But, could this contest just be an elaborate marketing scheme to improve the image of AI? According to Inverse: "Such a public display of A.I. affection, the challenge creators hope, will steer us away from the idea that all artificially intelligent roads lead to Skynet and robot apocalypse.

The evil A.I. narrative is one that XPrize founder Peter Diamandis describes as a tiring dystopian vision — but it doesn’t mean everyone else has given up on Ultron. There are plenty of reasons why people might take a dim view of artificial intelligence, be it Frankenstein complexes or uncanny valleys. Or Stephen Hawking arguing robots would beat us at our own evolutionary game."

To learn more, read "X Prize And IBM Team Up On A New, $5 Million A.I. Competition" from TechCrunch or read "IBM and XPrize Bet $5 Million on Making Us Forget About Skynet" from Inverse.