We’ve been besieged by fake news as of late. It’s all around us. It’s causing problems, as it masks itself well as real news, and many times people end up believing it. It’s even known to have affected the U.S. presidential race.
But is there a way to fix it? Or now that its existence has become part of our lifestyle, are we just stuck with fake news, right alongside our real news? There are some out there who believe A.I. could fix that problem of identifying fake news as such.
What Is Fake News?
First, let’s establish what fake news is, as clearly some are confused as to what it is. While certain politicians and broadcasters want fake news to be everything that is unfavorable to them, in reality that’s now a true picture of what it is.
Fake news is just what the name suggests: news that isn’t real. It’s news that has been manufactured, many times for the benefit of someone else.
Major news organizations have gotten into trouble a few times by reporting news that wasn’t fully vetted out. This becomes fake news. Social media is a big proponent of fake news as well. It’s all too easy for a fake news story to go viral, and by that time, there are many people that are believing it.
There are current ways to check if a story is fake news, but these methods require humans to do the leg work and check to see if they’re real, and this requires time. Websites like Snopes have been around for years checking out fake news before it was even called fake news. But they can’t keep up with the demand to check out every single story that’s submitted.
And that’s why it’s being suggested that AI could help determine whether news is real or fake. It can be done much more quickly. However, it’s not as failproof as human work in this regard.
The Possible Fix
Google and Facebook announced last month at the World Economic Summit that they have plans to develop AI systems that would alert their users to questionable content. Google is suggesting a “misinformation detector” browser extension to let users know a link can’t be trusted.
While they work on that, AdVerif.ai, an Israeli startup, has already employed an AI system to take on fake news.
“There are reports which are predicting that within three to four years, people in advanced economies will consume more false content than true content, which is really mind-blowing,” said Or Levi, ADVerif.ai founder.
“But because a lot of this content is recycled and repeated in different ways, we believe we can use AI to pinpoint trends which detect it as being fake.”
The company launched an AI-based algorithm last November that they say can pinpoint fake news stories nearly ninety percent of the time. Advertising companies such as Adidas and Nike are financing the development of this system. The intention is for a browser plug-in to be created that will display a pop-up when you land on a fraudulent story.
Knowing that fake news tends to be different as it uses more adverbs, adjectives, and slang, simple sentences, and not many commas and quotations, Adverif.ai fed both real and fake news stories into the algorithm, training it to identify those clues to determine whether a news story was fake or real.
However, this method is somewhat faulty. “Right now a story could say that New York is the capital of Uganda and the algorithm may not flag it because it doesn’t have a database of common facts,” revealed Levi.
“Current forms of AI can look at the style of the language and the topic that the text is discussing, but it can’t figure out the meaning behind statements.” AI also isn’t good with statements that it can’t “quantify” or “measure,” like stating something is the best.
The good news is that it will get better. The next version of AdVerif.ai is set to use natural language processing to help verify statements in articles against existing online content that is trusted, such as Wikipedia, even though Wikipedia isn’t 100 percent foolproof itself.
And because the same AI tools create the fake news and will help fight the fake news, Levi believes the online space will become a battleground of competing AI. Additionally, he feels “at the end of the day, the onus will probably always be on humans to use their own intuition to decide whether something is true or not.”
Would you trust AI to determine real from fake news? Jump into the comments section below and let us know!