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Alibaba’s AI wins human in Reading Comprehension

The battle between man and the machine went pretty devastating for the “homo sapiens”.

Chinese multinational e-commerce, retail, internet and technology conglomerate Alibaba, has developed an artificial intelligence model that actually beat humans in a Stanford University reading and comprehension test.

Based on more than 500 Wikipedia articles, Stanford’s set of questions are designed in the way they are teasing out whether machine-learning models can process large amounts of information before supplying precise answers to queries.

Alibaba’s Institute of Data Science and Technologies pronounced that its deep neural network model scored 82.44 in the Stanford Question Answering Dataset (SQuAD) on Jan. 11, beating the human score of 82.304 for Exact Match, i.e. providing exact answers to questions. SQuAD is a large-scale reading comprehension dataset that consists of more than 100,000 question-answer pairs based on more than 500 Wikipedia articles, and participating teams are to build machine-learning models to provide answers to questions, the online site said.

Chinese web services company Baidu made an actual bet on AI, and is leading its rivals in autonomous driving, some of which was on show at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

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.

Alibaba AI Labs, which leads the development of Alibaba’s consumer AI products, and semiconductor company MediaTek, have yesterday announced a strategic collaboration in IoT initiatives including smart home protocols, customised IoT chips and AI smart hardware, with the aim of fostering the development of a connected world in the IoT era.

The two parties also announced the first Smartmesh connectivity solution in China that supports the latest many-to-many Bluetooth mesh technology, in an effort to speed up the adoption of this technology in smart home settings.

Miffy Chan, Head of Alibaba A.I. Labs, commented: “We are excited about partnering with MediaTek to explore collaboration in the IoT ecosystem. 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.