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Featured January 26, 2023

How Artificial Intelligence (A.I) Can Help to Combat Fake News



How Artificial Intelligence (A.I) Can Help to Combat Fake News

Recent technological advancements like the internet have vastly improved the speed and the mode of communication, but they have given rise to a new problem, “fake news.”

Fake news is a false story or information peddled to push a narrative or the cause of the source. Every internet user, at some point, has come across fake news. The stories are usually written to sensationalize or muddle the truth and are spread faster than the truth, according to a 2018 research.

Essentially, the chances of an internet user receiving accurate information are relatively small. As a result, most internet users are susceptible to consuming twisted or falsified materials that fit a narrative.

How A.I. combats fake news and bias

With the fake news menace fast spreading, new technological advancements in artificial intelligence (A.I.) have been developed to curb its spread.

A.I. programs can perform linguistic analysis on the textual content to look for word patterns, syntactic structure, and readability. This analysis helps A.I. distinguish between computer-generated content and the ones produced by humans. The programs can also examine texts to check for hate speech in word vectors, word placements, and even connotations.

Fake News

Source: Merriam Webster

One major project that has helped in combating fake news is Fandango. Fandango is the brainchild of the European Union aimed at addressing “the aggressive emergence of fake news and post-truth effect.” The program crawls the internet to identify identical claims that fact-checkers have verified as false.

The program helps journalists track the source of false information and curb it before they get out of hand.

To verify claims and combat misinformation, Politifact, Snopes, and FactCheck engage human specialists to investigate the authenticity of reports. Upon proving a false claim, A.I. programs are deployed to crawl the web for similar information. These programs also issue reputation scores to website articles after it has verified their authenticity.

However, the reputation scores are issued following the completion of Sentiment Analysis, Opinion Analysis, Revision Analysis, and Propaganda Analysis. Sentiment analysis entails the examination of the journalist’s attitude toward the news. At the same time, Opinion Analysis examines whether the article is riddled with personal feelings, viewpoints, convictions, or assessments.

Revision analysis checks for a news story’s impact on public perception and mood. Propaganda Analysis also helps discover potential false information using different persuasion strategies. By combining the four analyses, A.I. helps verify the authenticity of claims and eliminate bias from the writers.

The challenges

While A.I. technologies like G.P.T. -3 have come close to replicating human-made materials, it is still far from attaining perfection. At some point, most A.I.s have even been accused of contributing to the spread of fake news and even bias. However, this can be credited to their use of Machine Learning which relies on human information.

There have also been issues of racial discrimination when using A.I. technologies. An M.I.T. Media Labs investigation uncovered flaws in facial recognition that resulted in a Netflix documentary.

Another visible issue is the inability of A.I. technologies to recognize humor and parody. As a result, it can misread real stories for fake ones if they are presented in a joking manner.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney.


Donald Trump Coming Back to Facebook and Instagram, Says Meta



Donald Trump Coming Back to Facebook and Instagram, Says Meta
Soon in a phone near you.

Meta has said it will restore the Facebook and Instagram accounts of former U.S. President Donald Trump “in the coming weeks,” ending a two-year suspension.

Trump, who has 34 million followers on Facebook and 23 million on Instagram, was banned from both platforms following the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, 2021. Meta said that the real estate billionaire was barred for his “praise for people engaged in violence at the Capitol.”

Also read: Twitter ElonJet Ban Raises Questions About Elon Musk’s Free Speech Ideals

In a Jan. 25 blog post, Meta’s president of global affairs Nick Clegg, said the social media company will reinstate Trump’s accounts in the coming weeks but “with new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.”

“Like any other Facebook or Instagram user, Mr Trump is subject to our community standards,” Clegg, a former UK deputy prime minister, wrote.

“In the event that Mr Trump posts further violating content, the content will be removed and he will be suspended for between one month and two years, depending on the severity of the violation.”

Donald Trump ban divided opinion

The decision to ban Trump was incredibly divisive. Before his ban, Meta, the world’s biggest social media firm, “had never suspended the account of a sitting head of state for violating its content rules.” Meta suspended the then-U.S. president’s accounts indefinitely.

Explaining the decision, Clegg said the suspension was “an extraordinary decision taken in extraordinary circumstances.” Meta referred the case on whether to permanently ban Trump to its independent oversight board.

The board upheld the decision but criticized the open-ended nature of the suspension and the lack of clear criteria for when and whether suspended accounts will be restored. It directed Meta to review the decision and the company said it would do so two years after the ban.

Clegg said a review has now found that Trump’s accounts no longer posed a serious risk to public safety, which would otherwise warrant an extension of the “suspension beyond the original two-year period”.

Eventually, Meta decided that its platforms should be available for “open, public and democratic debate” and that users “should be able to hear from a former President of the United States, and a declared candidate for that office again.”

“The public should be able to hear what their politicians are saying – the good, the bad and the ugly – so that they can make informed choices at the ballot box,” said Clegg.

Trump announced he will be running for the U.S. presidency again in 2024. Meta’s decision to reinstate Trump has divided opinion. While Republicans praised the move as a victory for free speech, Democrat Adam Schiff criticized it as “dangerous”.

Donald Trump claims Facebook ‘lost billions’ after his ban

In a post on Truth Social, reshared by others on Twitter, Trump responded saying, Facebook “lost billions of dollars in value since deplatforming your favorite President, me…”

“Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution!” he added. Trump, who founded Truth Social after his Facebook ban, did not say if or when he would start posting on Meta apps again.

Donald Trump was also suspended on Twitter, YouTube and SnapChat following the Capitol riots. New Twitter CEO Elon Musk reinstated the account in November last year but the former president is yet to post anything there.

Some reports suggested the silence is due to an exclusivity agreement he has with Truth Social, which requires him to post all news to the app six hours in advance of any other platform. That agreement expires in June.

Truth Social

Trump launched Truth Social, a right-wing social network created to challenge the likes of Twitter, in February 2022.

The social network brands itself as “America’s ‘big tent’ social media platform.” Truth Social claims that it “encourages an open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating on the basis of political ideology.”

In August, the app reached number 25 on Apple’s App Store rankings for social media apps. Truth Social has weathered reports of financial difficulty, regulatory issues and a ban from the Google Playstore, to continue to see impressive growth throughout 2022.

However, the platform could face problems again should Trump start utilizing Facebook and Twitter like he did in the past. The former president boasts a following of 5 million on Truth Social, which is far much smaller compared to the followers he has on the platforms that banned him.

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New Metaverse Product M3 is Focused on Senior Citizens Healthcare



New Metaverse Product M3 is Focused on Senior Citizens Healthcare

Two Lubin graduates, Chuk Ezuma and Rikin Gajjar, have developed the wearable M3 metaverse glass concept to cater to US aging population care services via the metaverse.

M3 is a traditional eyeglasses-like wearable product that allows health professionals like medical doctors to provide services for these demographics. With the product, a patient does not necessarily have to physically visit the hospital as the individual — after logging into Zoom or Microsoft Teams —  is attended to by an M3-wearing medical practitioner who communicates with the patient while accessing all necessary medical records.

M3 is unlike the usual VR headset

Per Pace University, the M3’s design is unlike the usual virtual reality headset. The prototype is said to be very much like an eyeglass. The developers believe that their novel approach would give them a competitive edge over rivals in the market.

Speaking on the product, Gajjar said:

“We want to save nurses time. Plus, older patients might not be able to drive, or getting to a hospital could be a headache. That’s our mission—save time and provide the best care.”

M3 was presented at a technology competition with participants from various schools like the University of Maryland, Columbia Business School, etc.

Experts urge for more senior citizens-focused metaverse products

While it seems the metaverse might be limited to young adults, senior citizens can also utilize it for healthcare purposes. Senior citizens can use the metaverse to access medical services and even attend therapy sessions. The metaverse can deliver virtual medical consultation services using advanced technology.

Based on the above, several experts believe that the metaverse could change how senior citizens get medical attention and quality healthcare services. This is why many of them are urging businesses in the metaverse to create more products that cater to the needs of the elderly.

New Metaverse Product M3 is Focused on Senior Citizens Healthcare

Source: Forbes

The CEO of Rendever, Kyle Rand, said senior citizens’ love for the metaverse is “growing and tangible.” According to Rand, businesses in the healthcare industry could tap into the numerous opportunities the metaverse provides by developing an age-inclusive technology.

“The future of aging depends on products and technologies that deliver and motivate older users to jump in again and again.”

Rand said these businesses could build products around travel experiences, fitness, community building, and even family connection for senior citizens. The CEO believes this move would be lucrative for these businesses and boost rapid adoption of metaverse technologies considering older adults spend over $8 trillion each year.

An article by Christos Tsagjkaris and others argued that healthcare professionals must call for an elderly-inclusive virtual environment that provides a safe and enriching user experience.

Countries tap metaverse for better healthcare services

The metaverse has revolutionized several industries, including the health space. Recently, several countries have made strides toward embracing the area.

A recent report revealed Saudi Arabia was launching the biggest virtual hospital in the world. The Chinese health sector has also been positively impacted by the growth made in the metaverse.

Over the years, experts have discovered that the metaverse could be handy in providing telemedicine services and record storage services via the blockchain. Through the metaverse, medical practitioners can assess their patients while providing other healthcare services.

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Twitch Streamer Controls Elden Ring Video Game With Only Her Thoughts



Twitch Streamer Controls Elden Ring Video Game With Only Her Thoughts
Perri Karyal doing thought control in action.

Twitch streamer Perri Karyal has started playing Elden Ring using only her thoughts and nothing else to control a character in the popular action role-playing game.

To do this, the British-Canadian attached an EEG to her brain, which she uses to monitor her brain functions. She then maps specific types of brain activity to various actions within the game, giving her control of a character without the use of a controller, mouse or keyboard.

Also read: The $450M Bored Ape Metaverse Collapsed Servers at Launch

Tasks such as summoning allies or casting spells, inside Elden Ring, can all be done without using a controller, according to videos on her Twitch account. An electroencephalogram, or EEG, is a device commonly used in the medical industry to measure and record brain waves.

“I’m using an EEG to monitor my brain activity live on screen. It works by picking up electrical activity from my brain on the sensor pads on my head, made conductive with saline solution. I then trained it to recognise certain states and binded it to my attack key!” Karyal said on Twitch.

Elden Ring mind control

Perri Karyal describes herself as a “full-time streamer in my twenties.” She says to have a master’s degree in psychology, with interests in physics, current events, “or real-world need-to-know stuff like how to survive a zombie apocalypse.” She also plays games.

Karyal’s Elden Ring “mind-control” antics went viral after esporting media personality Jake Lucky shared a part of the gameplay on Twitter.

In the video, the streamer is keen to prove that she is playing the game via EEG, and not using some other form of controller like dance pads. She demonstrated an action in which she attacked and killed the Elder Dragon Greyoll using only her EEG-wired brain.

Karyal commands an attack, and the character attacks. While the streamer and psychologist shouts some of the actions, the game is not responding to her voice commands. It responds only to her brain activity as monitored by the electroencephalogram.

“I’ve gotten a lot of stuff online, people being like, ‘Oh, no that’s cap. Are you for real?’ So as a final demonstration, no controller. Even, no foot pads or dance pads or anything. Focusing in…” Karyal averred.

Every time she wants to attack she has to think the right thought to push the brain activity through the EEG, which has a key bind to attack, said Jake Lucky in the video.

Not a first, still some ways to go

Elden Ring is a 2022 action role-playing game developed by Japanese firm FromSoftware. In the game, “players control a customizable player character on a journey to repair the titular Elden Ring and become the new Elden Lord.

The gane is thought to be difficult, according to some gaming experts, but another streamer on Twitch known as “MissMikkaa” reportedly “completed two copies of the game at the same time, one of which was played exclusively on a dance mat.”

Perri Karyal mentioned the use of dance mats by some players to manipulate the game. She also revealed to Jake Lucky the goal is to be able to control all in-game abilities through an EEG, but that will take time. It requires several hours of training to implement every action.

Karyal also admitted in one of her demonstration videos on Twitch that some actions on Elden Ring cannot be executed through mind control just yet. She also said this was not the first that a video game has been played online using an EEG.

In 2020, American neurotech startup Neurable launched Awakening, a virtual reality (VR) experience. In order to play, a user is required to wear a headband with six electrodes that register the brain’s activity.

This allows the player to control “the first-person video game via thoughts, emulating the protagonists’ super powers.” There is an increasing body of research that has converted brain wave sensors meant for research and medical applications in video game control.

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