TED 2016: $5m AI X Prize announced at conference

AI graphic Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Teams will have four years to design an AI that can help humanity

A new X prize designed to advance artificial intelligence has been announced at the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference.

The X Prize was set up to push the boundaries of technology to solve issues such as climate change.

The winner, which will be announced at TED in 2020, will win $5m (£3.4m).

It will be awarded to the team that is deemed to have used artificial intelligence to solve one of the world's biggest problems.

Other X Prizes include one to put a robot on the moon, which was launched in collaboration with Google and one that aims to design a real-life health tricorder - a digital device that can scan the body and diagnose illness.

AI is often associated with dystopian visions of machines working against humanity and the new prize is partly to re-establish it as a technology capable of doing good.

Image copyright TED
Image caption Peter Diamandis from XPrize and IBM's Dave Kenny announced the prize at TED

Peter Diamandis, head of the XPrize Foundation, said that the rules and structure of the competition would be loose because it was such a fast-moving technology. What AI is used to improve will be left up to individual teams.

Every year leading up to 2020, teams will go head-to-head at World of Watson, IBM's annual conference, competing for interim prizes and the opportunity to advance to the next year's competition. IBM is jointly running the prize.

The three finalist teams will take the TED stage in 2020 to deliver talks demonstrating what they have achieved.

Ideas will be evaluated by a panel of expert judges for technical accuracy with the TED and X Prize communities choosing the winner.

More details about the competition will be made available in May.

Interested parties can pre-register at the X Prize website.

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