HONG KONG • Alibaba has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) model that scored better than humans in a Stanford University reading and comprehension test.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd put its deep neural network model through its paces last week, asking the AI to provide exact answers to more than 100,000 questions comprising a quiz that’s considered one of the world’s most authoritative machine-reading gauges. The model developed by Alibaba’s Institute of Data Science of Technologies scored 82.44, edging past the 82.304 that rival humans achieved.
Alibaba said it’s the first time a machine has outdone a real person in such a contest. Microsoft achieved a similar feat, scoring 82.650 on the same test, but those results were finalised a day after Alibaba’s, the company said.
So-called natural language processing mimics human comprehension of words and sentences. Based on more than 500 Wikipedia articles, Stanford’s set of questions are designed to tease out whether machine-learning models can process large amounts of information before supplying precise answers to queries.
“That means objective questions such as ‘what causes rain’ can now be answered with high accuracy by machines,” Luo Si, chief scientist for natural language processing at the Alibaba institute, said in a statement. “The technology underneath can be gradually applied to numerous applications such as customer service, museum tutorials and online responses to medical inquiries from patients, decreasing the need for human input in an unprecedented way.” — Bloomberg