Luo Si, the chief scientist of natural language processing at Alibaba's AI research group, said the technology "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".
Microsoft's AI now owns the crown with a score of 82.650 on the Stanford University Reading Comprehension test, beating out Alibaba who just a few days earlier was the first to exceed the average human score of 82.304, scoring 82.440.
Stanford researcher Pranav Rajpurkar, who helped develop the reading test, called Alibaba's feat "a great start to 2018" for artificial intelligence on social media.
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An AI learning model developed by Chinese tech giant Alibaba has surpassed humans in a reading test with a score of 82.44. Humans had clocked a previous score of 82.304, it said. Human participants in the reading test scored 82.304 based on the January 5 tests.
Stanford tests are used by several worldwide universities and global technology firms, including Google, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft, to determine whether their machine learning models are able to answer the questions in the data set.
The test is created to generate questions based on a series of Wikipedia articles, so, it could give it the article on World War I and ask it: What was the name of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassin? It is perceived as the world's top machine reading comprehension test and attracts universities and institutes ranging from Google, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft to Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford University and Allen Research Institute.
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Alibaba said its neural network model was based on the Hierarchical Attention Network, which it explained would read "from paragraphs to sentences to words" to identify phases that could hold potential answers.
Alibaba's breakthrough means that bots are closer to performing a wide range of customer service tasks.
They said it would would, for example, "let drivers more easily find the answer they need in a dense vehicle manual, saving time and effort in tense or hard situations".
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Alibaba tested this AI technology on chatbot Ali Xiaomi used by retailers on the company's virtual stores, Taobao and Tmall.