This AI Tries to Understand Why Fake News Are Being Spread


Fake news is a phenomenon that has widespread misleading effects. It is so worse to the point that we have apps that fact-check news. Recently, researchers from Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth have developed a new AI model that detects the “speaker’s intent to mislead“.

In simple words, the AI tries to understand if the person is actually trying to mislead or is coming up with conclusions based on wrong assumptions or false information that he/she believes is the truth.

“Deceptive intent to mislead listeners on purpose poses a much larger threat than unintentional mistakes. To the best of our knowledge, our algorithm is the only method that detects deception and at the same time discriminates malicious acts from benign acts.”,  said Eugene Santos Jr., co-author, and professor of engineering at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth.

The researchers used data from a 2009 survey containing opinions of 100 participants on controversial topics and a 2011 dataset containing 800 real and fake reviews of 20 hotels. The algorithm developed by the researchers is said to point out deceptive opinions.

The system could be further developed to detect if the news is logical and reasonable or it is purely based on one’s own opinion or grudge against the subject. The researchers quote the popular movie Ocean’s Eleven to show how their technique can be used to analyze arguments.

In the movie, there is a scene where a group of thieves break into a vault. They then reveal the owner that he is being robbed. The thieves inform the owner that they will take only half the money if the owner doesn’t call the police. Here, the thieves actually want the owner to call the police so that they could disguise themselves as police.

“People expect things to work in a certain way. Just like the thieves knew that the owner would call the police when he found out he was being robbed. So, in this scenario, the thieves used that knowledge to convince the owner to come to a certain conclusion and follow the standard path of expectations. They forced their deception intent so the owner would reach the conclusions the thieves desired.”, added Mr.Santo.

If you are interested to know more about their work, check out the research paper here and let us know your thoughts on it in the comments.





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