A new cognitive computing competition, The IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, was announced at TED2016, in Vancouver. The $5 million challenge to teams worldwide calls for them to “develop and demonstrate how humans can collaborate with powerful cognitive technologies to tackle some of the world’s grand challenges.”
An XPRIZE is “a highly leveraged, incentivized prize competition that pushes the limits of what’s possible — to change the world for the better. It captures the world’s imagination and inspires others to reach for similar goals, spurring innovation and accelerating the rate of positive change,” the XPRIZE Foundation explains.
- Read more: 7 Cool Things to Know about AI
Each year, from now until TED2020, participating teams will go head-to-head at World of Watson, IBM’s annual conference, to compete for interim prizes and for the opportunity to advance to the following year’s competition. Three finalist teams will take the TED stage in 2020 to deliver TED Talks demonstrating their achievements.
An XPRIZE must meet the following criteria:
- Bold and Audacious Goal: Pushes the boundaries of human potential by focusing on problems currently believed to be unsolvable, or that have no clear path toward a solution.
- Target Market Failure: Targets a range of market failures:
- no capital is being spent
- capital is being spent, but without the desired result
- no capital is being spent, because nobody knows it’s a problem
- the problem is known, but no one can imagine that it’s not already being addressed
- no one is addressing, because a solution is thought to be impossible
- Define The Problem vs. The Solution: Solution-agnostic, defining the challenge and incentivizing teams around the world to find the most effective solutions.
- Audacious, but Achievable: While a competition must be bold and difficult, it must also be achievable to ensure that teams believe that they can win.
- Winnable by a Small Team: Should be able to be won by teams ranging from industry experts to well-funded high school students who don’t know what they can’t do.
- Reasonable Time Frame: Designed to affect the foreseeable future, so a duration of two to seven years is essential to allow teams enough time to succeed, while ensuring momentum and that industry will not outpace the competition
- Clear, Objective and Simple Rules: Clearly defined finish line with easy-to-understand rules and goals that are measurable and understandable by all.
- Telegenic and Easy to Convey: The winning of the competition itself is interesting and compelling, and has innate narratives that are able to be conveyed easily to our audiences.
- Leveragable: Provides leverage for a sponsor’s investment by driving additional support of a solution; by shifting risk from sponsors to competitors, prizes attract investments of capital and time from motivated participants, and when prizes produce vetted solutions they can attract further investment.
- Drive Investment: Enable innovators to attract capital, support and team members Create “Back End Business”: Should give birth to a new industry or transform/revitalize an existing one with long-lasting benefits.
- Provide Vision and Hope: Inspires hope through our vision of a better future where winning teams are the proof that the world’s seemingly impossible problems can be solved.
“Ideas will be evaluated by a panel of expert judges for technical validity and ultimately, the TED and XPRIZE communities will choose the winner based on the audacity of their mission and the awe-inspiring nature of the teams’ TED Talks in 2020,” the XPRIZE site explains.
“IBM believes this competition can accelerate the creation of landmark breakthroughs that deliver new, positive impacts to peoples’ lives, and the transformation of industries and professions. We believe that cognitive technologies like Watson represent an entirely new era of computing, and that we are forging a new partnership between humans and technology that will enable us to address many of humanity’s most significant challenges — from climate change, to education, to healthcare,” the competition page states.
“Typical of all XPRIZE competitions, the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE will crowdsource solutions from some of the most brilliant thinkers and entrepreneurs around the world, creating true exponential impact.”
- Learn more: http://www.xprize.org/ai
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