Economy

Microsoft and Alibaba AI now better at reading than us humans

Microsoft and Alibaba AI now better at reading than us humans

In a tweet postedby Pranav Rajurkar, the AI systems beat humans in a Stanford Question Answering Dataset (SQuAD) test.

After mastering games such as chess and Go, artificial intelligence (AI) is now better than us in one of our most-loved hobbies: reading.

Alibaba's iDST (Institute of Data Science of Technologies), the fundamental research arm on artificial intelligence under Alibaba Group, developed a deep learning model which surpassed human performance on Stanford's reading comprehension test. Chinese tech giant Alibaba also recorded a similar score of 82.440, putting the two tech giants jointly at the top of the SQuAD leaderboard.

"That means objective questions such as "what causes rain" can now be answered with high accuracy by machines". The test examines comprehension, giving participants a web page to read and then asking them specific questions about its content.

Now Bloomberg reports that Alibaba and Microsoft have both developed AI that scores better than humans on a Stanford University reading test.

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Alibaba's result was officially registered by Squad on January 11, a day ahead of Microsoft's, technically making the Chinese company the first to beat human scores.

Ming Zhou, assistant managing director of Microsoft Research Asia said of its own result: "Natural language processing is still an area with lots of challenges that we all need to keep investing in and pushing forward. Our AI and cloud computing capabilities, along with MediaTek's cutting-edge technology in chip design, provide unique advantages to our connectivity solutions for smart homes, offering real benefits to consumers in China and paving the way to a more connected world through innovation".

The win has wider implications about the way companies deploy machine learning to replace customer service jobs that have so far relied on armies of call-centre employees to handle inquiries.

They said it would would, for example, "let drivers more easily find the answer they need in a dense auto manual, saving time and effort in tense or hard situations".

Alibaba has already employed the underlying technology in its November 11 shopping festival over the years, using computers to answer a large number of customer service questions, the company said.


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