This AI trolls

Popular Science - - SOLFWARE -

Hate and ha­rass­ment flour­ish in on­line com­ment sec­tions. To keep these dig­i­tal fo­rums open, Jig­saw - a divi­sion of Google’s par­ent com­pany, Al­pha­bet— built Per­spec­tive, a ma­chine-learn­ing sys­tem that scores read­ers’ writ­ten thoughts from 1 to 100, based on how likely they are to be toxic. You may have no­ticed that since June, more ar­ti­cles on The New York Times’ web­site al­low peo­ple to post their opin­ions. That’s be­cause the Times—which con­trib­uted mil­lions of an­no­tated com­ments to train the sys­tem— em­ployed Per­spec­tive to help its hu­man mod­er­a­tors han­dle the re­marks more ef­fi­ciently. By year’s end, ed­i­tors hope to have opened up 80 per­cent of all ar­ti­cles for (non-toxic) dis­cus­sion.

Pho­to­graph by Ted Ca­vanaugh

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