By Elton Gomes
As technology advances at an increasing pace each day, a constant worry seems to be nagging pretty much everyone – will robots replace me at my job? A newly launched news website, Knowherenews, claims to present to news to you in its unbiased form. Knowhere combines the brains of artificial intelligence (AI) and human journalists to solely deliver facts, without any political, social or other bias.
Here’s what happened
Knowhere’s AI chooses a story based on its popularity on the Internet. After it has selected a topic, it searches for a substantial amount of sources about the story, ranging from reports leaning to the left, right, and everywhere in between. The AI then writes an unbiased story based on its findings, additionally, while searching for sources, the AI takes into consideration the trustworthiness of each and every site.
The co-founders of Knowhere have weighed each source for trustworthiness, and so a New York Times piece will be weighed differently as compared to a story on Breitbart News. After conducting the research, the AI publishes three versions of each article: right, left and impartial, intended to show readers how words and sources can produce biases in reporting.‘Left’ version of the story about Trump and Russian sanctions. Credit: Screen Grab on April 18. ‘Impartial’ version of the story about Trump and Russian sanctions. Credit: Screen Grab on April 18. ‘Right’ version of the story about Trump and Russian sanctions. Credit: Screen Grab on April 18.
CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Knowhere Nathaniel Barling told TechCrunch: I want to establish a source of record thats indisputably trustworthy for everyone from across all aisles.” Barling added, As a Knowhere reader what you are signing up for is the truth and the full context around it.
Barling’s father Kurt was an investigative reporter at BBC, and he always on emphasised editorial responsibilities pushing Barling to think beyond technical issues in reporting.
Perhaps this could be the reason why all stories on Knowhere are vetted by Barling. “The buck stops with me, he told Vice. Everything gets reviewed, everything gets edited and everything is then reviewed post-editing as well so we have a check and balance between our journalist, our editorial team, and the algorithms themselves,” Barling added.
Knowhere announced on April 5 that it had raised $1.8 million in seed funding from investors. Barling added the company is open to having subscriptions, paid advertising, and is also willing to sell article metadata.
Why you should care
Knowhere is not the first media company to tap into AI. In March 2017, a reporter at the Atlantic created a bot to see when US President Donald Trump really writes his own tweets.
While the entry of AI in newsrooms seems favourable, it remains to be seen how effective the stories will be. Will AI be able to engage with human readers?
Furthermore, Knowhere’s promise of delivering unbiased reporting holds true for news genres such as politics, current affairs, and the likes. How does the AI in Knowhere aim to write articles on culture, gender, and society where significant grey areas exist? Clearly, a lot of unanswered questions remain about the role AI could play in journalism, but when it comes to reporting biases in reporting, perhaps in the era of ‘fake news’ this startup is just what the media world needs.