Artificial Intelligence

AI tackling the spread of misinformation

From combating the spread of misinformation to expanding awareness of the impact of AI on society, seven projects shaping the effects that artificial intelligence has on the field of news and information have received $750,000 in funding. The Ethics and Governance in AI Initiative, a joint project of the MIT Media Lab and the Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, awarded the funding through the AI and the News Open Challenge.

Emerging from more than 500 submissions, the winning projects will include an effort to combat the spread of misinformation through the messaging platform WhatsApp, where one group will accelerate the work of fact checkers in India where the spread of dubious videos have led to lynchings. 

Other projects will help to augment and support the work of journalists by experimenting with the opportunity offered by AI in sifting through reams of information, training reporters to cover this emerging field and supporting an in-depth series on the effects of AI on American workers. 

“These winners showcase both the opportunities and challenges posed by artificial intelligence. On one hand, the technology offers a tremendous opportunity to improve the way we work, including helping journalists find key information buried in mountains of public records. Yet we are also seeing a range of negative consequences as AI becomes intertwined with the spread of misinformation and disinformation online,” said Tim Hwang, who leads the initiative. “We’re thrilled to support these winners as they pilot new efforts to ensure these technological breakthroughs have positive social impact.”

Projects include

  • Chequeado: Building regional knowledge about AI by producing an investigative series on the ethics of algorithms and the implications in Latin America.
  • Legal Robot: Helping journalists and the public find the connections between public agencies and the companies they hire by using artificial intelligence to extract information from large-scale public records requests.
  • MuckRock Foundation: Making it easier for newsrooms, researchers, and communities to analyse documents through crowdsourcing and machine learning tools.
  • Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, CUNY Foundation: Training community media journalists to uncover and analyse artificial intelligence systems, and to produce news pieces that centre on the impact of this technology on immigrants and low-income communities.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology: Helping journalists more easily spot suspicious media by developing detection techniques that quickly identify and detect evidence that video or audio was faked, using recent developments in machine learning.

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