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Baidu's AI-powered bot takes on humans in a Chinese reality TV show

A robot is invading a popular reality TV show in China that tests people’s brainpower. The smart, AI-powered bot, Xiaodu, will take on human competitors in complex trials involving face and voice recognition.

Super Brain, the Chinese version of The Brain franchise, will dedicate the whole of season four, starting tonight, to the theme of supercomputers versus humans. The AI robot built by search engine giant Baidu is one of the contestants, facing off against four people and other clever computer programs.

Baidu first showed off a small version of Xiaodu in 2015. After working on the AI in the interim – and building a giant version just for TV – the gadget now faces its biggest ever battle.

One of the AI’s human opponents is Sun Yiting, an eight-year-old boy with amazing hearing ability. He claims he can accurately tell the height from which a balloon was dropped by listening to the sound of the balloon landing. Another, Wang Feng, is a memory master who broke the world record for speed memorisation of cards in a poker game.

The first facial recognition round in tonight’s (January 6, 2017) Super Brain will involve the humans and Xiaodu being shown numerous photos of two women when they were babies to four years old. They must then pick out the right two individuals from a lineup of 20 women who are dressed similarly and have similar haircuts.

The speech recognition round is equally complex, with contestants tasked to match three people talking in a three-second audio clip to 21 people brought onstage as they all sing in chorus.

Baidu is confident its AI bot has the savvy to do well in its tough TV test. 
This is an excerpt from Tech in Asia. You can read the full article here.