Behind the Scenes of Project Debater – Speech by Crowd at CES: Part Two

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Project Debater – Speech by Crowd is an experimental platform that automatically creates clear and persuasive narratives based entirely on ideas that people share about complex topics. In everyday life, when people formulate a point of view, the perspectives they consider are usually based on their own personal experiences. Our hope is that this technology can help people consider new ideas, learn from each other, and think of things from new angles.

We shared Project Debater – Speech by Crowd for the first time at CES this week and have been excited to see both its initial performance and how it’s done on various topics throughout the week: whether or not we should ban gambling, stop the development of autonomous cars, or ban the sale of violent video games to minors. We’ve received over 2,000 arguments this week from visitors at the IBM booth as well people around the world. At 4 pm PT each day, we’ve shared the speeches that were generated based on the inputs we received, and were delighted not only by how convincing the narratives were, but also by the reactions we saw from the audience.

Sharing Speech by Crowd with the CES community this week has been a true live experiment; we didn’t know what to expect in advance. Thanks to the CES and worldwide community of participants, the inputs we received were thoughtful and diverse, which led to speeches that revealed insights that I personally had not considered before, and I’m sure I’m not alone. It’s been gratifying for us to see people engaging directly with work that’s been in development here for several years, and we’d love to hear your feedback on the Project Debater – Speech by Crowd experience at CES, so please drop us a line at

The final Speech by Crowd topic for this “live experiment” (Online shopping brings more harm than good) will be open through 11 am PT on Monday January 14. Please visit the Project Debater – Speech by Crowd experience to submit your best arguments, then check back for the results at 12 noon PT on January 14.

Next month at IBM’s annual THINK conference, Project Debater will be back and will face its biggest challenge yet: a live debate with a world-champion debater in front of a large in-person audience, plus a livestream feed. You can join us in person or tune in via livestream to witness the next step in AI’s progress toward mastering language.

Director, Cloud Infrastructure Research, IBM Research

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