Artificial Intelligence Detects Fake News
Artificial Intelligence and Robotics are both progressing at astounding rates in various directions. One of note in the field of Artificial Intelligence, is the attempt to use AI to discern fake news on the internet from real news. The amount of fake news out there is alarming, especially on the internet. The recent political elections in the United States brought this issue to the front and center of many discussions about an assorted number of topics from history, to science, to political debates.
The WVU Reed College of Media, as well as students and faculty from the WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, is hosting an AI course that includes two projects focusing on this new ability for AI.
Students in this Computer Science elective course are set into teams to develop their own AI programs. Stephen Woerner, a Computer Science Senior, and his team are using a machine learning system to analyze text and score it. The score representing the likelihood that the article is fake. It even provides a breakdown as to why it was given the score. “Artificial intelligence can have all the same information as people, but it can address the volume of news and decipher validity without getting tired,” Woerner said. “People tend to get political or emotional, but AI doesn’t. It just addresses the problem it’s trained to combat.”
“Fake news isn’t just a media problem,” said the Center’s Creative Director, Dana Coester. “It’s also a social and political problem with roots in technology. Solving that problem requires collaborating across disciplines.”
This course is hosted at WVU Reed College of Media’s Media Innovation Center, located in the Evansdale Crossing building, and is an example of the Center’s mission to support research, projects, and curriculum innovations that combine technology, media and information networks.
Don Mclaughlin, research associate and retired faculty member of the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, is the course instructor. He says working at the Center has been a more creative environment than the classrooms he has used in the past, helping his students perform this semester. “I’ve taught this course before, but the students seem to be more enthused this time. We appreciate the space and the breakout areas available for team collaboration here at the Center,” said McLaughlin. “Those amenities are valuable in a university environment.”
Each team will demonstrate their completed projects at the end semester, during the last week of classes at the Center. The idea that Artificial Intelligence could be used to filter news into real or fake categories is great in and of itself. However, the fact that it is being creating by students in a classroom instead of media big shots like Google and Facebook is just astonishing. One day we may be able to open a news article, scan it with a quick press of a button, and have a score telling us whether or not it is worth our time to read, because it may just be fake.