Google rolls out AI tool to combat online trolls

Google said it will begin offering media groups an artificial intelligence tool designed to stamp out incendiary comments on their websites.

The programming tool, called Perspective, aims to assist editors trying to moderate discussions by filtering out abusive ‘troll’ comments, which Google says can stymie smart online discussions.

“Seventy-two per cent of American internet users have witnessed harassment online and nearly half have personally experienced it”, said Jared Cohen, president of Google’s Jigsaw technology incubator.

“Almost a third self-censor what they post online for fear of retribution,” he added in a blog post on Friday titled “When computers learn to swear”.

Perspective is an application programming interface (API), or set of methods for facilitating communication between systems and devices, that uses machine learning to rate how comments might be regarded by other users.

The system, which will be provided free to media groups including social media sites, is being tested by ‘The Economist’, ‘The Guardian’, ‘The New York Times’ and ‘Wikipedia’.

Many news organisations have closed down their comments sections for lack of sufficient human resources to monitor the postings for abusive content.

“We hope we can help improve conversations online”, Cohen said.


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