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Will Amazon award a $1M "Alexa Prize" for a chatbot in 2017?

Amazon has recently launched an "Alexa Prize" competition toward developing an effective "Socialbot" that can "[Engage] customers in a conversation about popular topics such as Entertainment, Fashion, Politics, Sports, and Technology."

Twelve sponsored university teams and some number of additional teams will compete from April until November 2017, using Amazon employees, users, and judges to narrow down to finalists in August, then have a final competition with a 3-judge panel in November.

The best team will win $500K, and there is an additional $1M prize if "their socialbot achieves the grand challenge of conversing coherently and engagingly with humans on popular topics for 20 minutes."

As specified in the FAQ, this is not a Turing test – the winning bot may be readily distinguishable from a human. It should, however, be "human like" in its ability to converse. Details of the judging procedure are in the official rules. In brief, each judge has a "red button" they can press when feel that as a user they would no longer enjoy talking to the bot, and

If and only if the Entrant Team that wins the 2017 Prize has a mean Finals Score equal to 4.0 or higher and maintains a conversation with at least two of the three Interactors for twenty (20) minutes without being stopped by the Judges, Sponsor will provide $1,000,000 U.S. dollars...

so, Will Amazon award the $1M prize?

Resolution will be by announcement by Amazon.


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