A crucible of ideas
Photo Courtesy: medium.com, businessinsider.com
September 28, 2020
Be it misinformation or any developing news published to the web that isn’t always the most accurate or trustworthy. In fact in these times information can accelerate faster than facts that materialize.
Google now has begun using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning techniques to quickly recognize breaking news around crisis period or natural disasters. Google’s VP of search Pandu Nayak, claims that the search engine’s AI system takes a few minutes to recognize breaking stories. Earlier the detection time was up to 40 minutes till a few years ago. Nayak wrote in a post the AI system makes sure that the search engine is returning the most authentic information available to the end user.
Google’s analysts collect data on how it’s systems are responding to real time events and then compile reports about narratives which are emerging, like new claims about COVID treatments. “Our product teams use these data sets and reports from the Intelligence Desk to run more robust quality tests and ensure that our systems are working as intended for the wide range of topics people Search for,” claims Nayak.
Google is known for it’s extensive testing. “The company has done over 1 million search quality tests since 2017, and now the company performs over 1,000 search quality tests each day,” claims Nayak.
With a dynamic complex news ecosystem, the information landscape can change quickly. Recently, the company launched an update using language understanding models based on BERT to enhance the matching between news and fact-checks that are available. The company started adding publisher fact checks of public claims alongside the results back in April 2017, and Nayak wrote in his blog that Google’s systems can now better understand if a fact check of public claim is related to the story’s topic. Its systems surface those fact checks more prominently in the Full Coverage feature of Google News.
Nayak claimed that in Search, features like knowledge panels that display information from the Google Knowledge Graph help users quickly access facts from sources across the web. “To deliver high-quality information in these features, we’ve deepened our partnerships with government agencies, health organizations and Wikipedia to ensure reliable, accurate information is available, and protect against potential vandalism,” claims Nayak.
Nayak claims that Volunteer Wikipedia editors around the world have created robust systems to guard for neutrality and accuracy. They use machine learning tools paired with intricate human oversight to spot and address vandalism. Most vandalism on Wikipedia is reverted within a matter of minutes.
Nayak claims that that quicker breaking news detection will become more critical as the 2020 United States Presidential Election day nears and natural disasters across the globe unfold. “Wildfires can change course on a dime, and accurate and timely election information in the face of misleading information campaigns is probably the key to protect the integrity of the processes,” says Nayak.
The effort to map ‘realtime breaking news events’ was an initiative of Google’s Crisis Response team, which for years has done real-time tracking of events, launching SOS Alerts in Search and Maps for users to get vital information quickly.