In an effort to fight online trolls and harassment, Google’s Jigsaw unit announced it was releasing a new software tool called Perspective. This software uses machine learning to detect online abuse.
Jigsaw and this type of software have been around since 2010, with a different name. The new Perspective API is now available to developers who are free to build on top of the software.
This troll-fighting platform uses machine learning to automatically identify online harassment. This includes speech such as insults, abuse, discrimination, etc. By entering a sentence into its interface, Perspective can immediately provide an assessment of the sentence’s “toxicity” level.
Software That Uses Algorithmic Decisions to Foster a Troll-Free Zone
According to a report in Wired, publishers like The New York Times, The Guardian, and the Economist are experimenting with the tool. They plan on using it to keep their comments section a place where “everyone can have intelligent debates.”
By open sourcing the project, Google and Jigsaw offer developers the chance to use their abilities to tap into the toxicity detector running on Google’s servers to filter harassment/abuse on social media.
“We hope this is a moment where Conversation AI goes from being ‘this is interesting’ to a place where everyone can start engaging and leveraging these models to improve discussion,” says Jigsaw’s Conversation AI product manager CJ Adams.
In an era of polarized, biased, and heated online discussions – Jigsaw believes that software for cleaning up comments may help bring together a more open atmosphere for healthier discussions.
“We’re in a situation where online conversations are becoming so toxic that we end up just talking to people we agree with,” says Adams. “That’s made us all the more interested in creating technology to help people continue talking and continue listening to each other, even when they disagree.”