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posted by n1 on Tuesday August 26 2014, @04:48PM   Printer-friendly
from the most-of-twitter-to-be-flagged dept.

The National Science Foundation is funding the “Truthy” database, intended to detect “false and misleading ideas,” "political smears," and other "social pollution” in online political activity. Researchers at Indiana University have received $919,917 (so far) for this project. The resulting open-source platform will be made publicly available, including via a web service open to the public for "monitoring trends, bursts, and suspicious memes.”

According to the grant, “This service could mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate."

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:11PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:11PM (#85802)

    Sounds like yet another attempt to automate human judgment.

    Sure they may be able to identify certain types of meme propagation patterns that correlate with some types of lies and half-truths. But without the ability to understand the ideas themselves rather than just some of the external characteristics any system will have high error rate - both false positives and false negatives.

    Until we have AI's that are as mentally flexible as actual people that sort of thing just can't work. And if do eventually develop AI's that smart, they will get just as bored with that sort of work as a human would because, by definition, they won't be idiots.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:28PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26 2014, @05:28PM (#85805)

    Don't worry, I'm sure they'll cross-check with a database of what high-ranked people from big political parties/large companies said, and automatically exclude such statements from the list of lies and half-truths.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by etherscythe on Tuesday August 26 2014, @08:32PM

    by etherscythe (937) on Tuesday August 26 2014, @08:32PM (#85887) Journal

    I'm thinking it's a bit more responsive version of Snopes. Seems like Snopes mostly does stuff you see in email and takes awhile to catch on to trends and stuff generally going "viral", whereas there is a staggering amount of misinformation in social media. If somebody had a URL shortener service compbined with a #debunk tag we might start to get a handle on the worst idiocy and slow its propagation. One can hope. I'd approve funding for this project, were it up to me.

    "Fake News: anything reported outside of my own personally chosen echo chamber"
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28 2014, @04:50AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28 2014, @04:50AM (#86597)

      Maybe you are right. They talk a lot about automation but they also talk about crowdsourcing.
      I guess the devil will be in the details.