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#Siri Creators Turn Their Attention to Fighting #Cyberbullying

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There aren't many jobs out there in the world that I'd want to do less than social media content manager. They are tasked with coming in every day to sit at their computers sifting through bile, gore and general horribleness in order to deem what is and is not worthy of being blocked from whatever platform pays their cheques. It must be absolutely soul destroying at the best of times, but what's the alternative.

As has been proven time and time again, just setting an automatic function to block inappropriate content just opens up a whole hornet's nest of new issues. So what's needed is a middle ground between a soft, fragile human brain and a tactless, fallible algorithm. SRI International are working on an AI program that might just be able to bridge that gap.

Who are SRI International? They are a Californian non-profit research institute, most well known for developing Siri. This new venture of theirs is targeted directly at cyberbullying, which is by far the most dangerous kind of inappropriate social media content. Supposedly this idea has been gestating at SRI for a while, but it was only recently, when an unnamed social media platform approached them asking for help, that they were granted access to the data they needed to start building all the algorithms.

At this stage SRI were already in possession of a set of algorithms which could mark exam papers, so they took the cyberbullying data they received and had a look to see if those same algorithms could be refitted to recognising abuse. Allegedly, the results were very promising. The issue with online bullying is that beyond just language, there's also context, something could sound completely innocent in one case and awful in another and it's very hard for any kind of program to recognise that.

Most of the other projects SRI have undertaken have also been based around human communication. One of their other more successful projects was Nuance, a natural language software program. Supposedly they'll be able to start rolling this one out within the next 6 months. It's unlikely to provide any kind of blanket solution to cyberbullying, but anything that helps combat it more efficiently is worth the trouble.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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#Siri Creators Turn Their Attention to Fighting #Cyberbullying Reviewed by Callum Davies on Saturday, July 18, 2015 Rating: 5

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