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In 2020, 3 speakers will go on stage to deliver a TED talk and vie to win a $5,000,000 prize. There’s a catch however.... Can AI Solve Global Problems? IBM, TED, And $5m X-Prize Hope So

In 2020, 3 speakers will go on stage to deliver a TED talk and vie to win a $5,000,000 prize.

There’s a catch however. The speakers won’t be human. Instead, the X-Prize hopefuls will have to share a unique similarity; they will have to be AI.

"Good morning, Dave."

“Good morning, Dave.”

The finalists will all have taken part in a newly announced X-Prize for advanced cognitive computing. The competition is the brainchild of founder Peter Diamandis, founder of the X-Prize Foundation,  and was revealed at a recent TED talk. Diamandis, and IBM’s David Kenny, the head of IBM’s Watson, took to the stage to make the announcement.

The goal of the X-Prize competition is simple and somewhat broad in its remit to “demonstrate how humans can collaborate with powerful cognitive technologies to tackle some of the world’s grand challenges.”

The prize for the challenge comes from IBM, TED and the X Prize Foundation, who want to stimulate research on AI “to tackle some of the world’s grand challenges.” The winner in 2020 will be the individual or team that manages to construct an Artificial Intelligence that the judging panel thinks will “tackle some of the world’s grand challenges,” successfully. But what the challenge that AI can solve, Diamandis says, is entirely up to the developers themselves.

The winners of the X-Prize will be chosen by the TED audience after the final 3 competitors give their talks in 2020. On of the major goals of the challenge, according to Diamandis is to prove the potential for artificial intelligence to do good, not just evil. “The fact of the matter is, personally, I’m sick and tired of the dystopian conversation around artificial intelligence….Our belief is that artificial intelligence is one of the most important inventions the human race will ever create to take on humanity’s grand challenges. We want to demonstrate that to the world.”

The X-Prize foundation has been responsible for some of the more out-there research challenges both  on and off the planet in recent years. It is responsible for being behind the X-Prize for the world’s first private space race to reach the moon.

It’s also running a $10 million competition that it hopes will produce a real life version of Star Trek’s medical tricorder that will be able to diagnose health issues in an instant.

Contestants in the latest AI X-Prize will also be given the opportunity to compete for interim prizes each year.