IBM Watson AI XPRIZE Announced
Written by Sue Gee   
Thursday, 18 February 2016

A $5 million competition was announced at TED2016. Spanning 2017 to 2020 it is up to participating teams to decide what challenges they want to address using artificial intelligence.



Called the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE with the tag line A Cognitive Computing Competition, it was announced by XPRIZE Foundation chairman Peter Diamandis and IBM Watson general manager David Kenny at the TED conference in Vancouver on February 17, 2016. 

The idea of offering a $5 million prize, as outline on its webpage is:

to crowdsource solutions from some of the most brilliant thinkers and entrepreneurs around the world, creating true exponential impact.

According to the XPRIZE FAcebook post:

The partnership between humans and technology has produced many of society’s most groundbreaking advancements, from landing a man on the Moon to mapping the human genome. We're launching the $5 Million IBM Watson Artificial Intelligence XPRIZE, presented by TED, because we truly believe that AI will be the most important technology humanity will ever develop.

The announcement on the IBM Watson blog states:

We believe A.I. will be the most important technology of our lifetimes, and our scientists, researchers and developers have decades of innovation ahead of them. Today there is a great opportunity to advance the work being done by the best and brightest of this community and use A.I. to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges.

The goal is to bring together a broad group of creative minds, which is why we’ve teamed up with XPRIZE, the leader in incentivized prize competitions that push the limits of possibility to change the world for the better, and the TED community, to make it happen.





The rules and other details of the competition will be made available in May, but the whole idea seems to be that they won't be prescriptive. Participating teams are being asked come up with their own ideas for challenges that fall within the scope of AI. 

Stephanie Wander, an X Prize Development Associate and the design lead for this competition explained:

"For us it’s the possibility that we can cure cancer, that we can address climate change, the possibilities are wonderful and exciting and endless".

The format is that each year between 2017 and 2019, teams will go head-to-head at IBM's annual World of Watson conference where milestone prizes will be awarded and some teams will be eliminated. The finals will take place at TED in 2020 when three teams will give TED Talks demonstrating their innovations and a single grand prize winner will be selected.


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Last Updated ( Monday, 17 October 2016 )