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You can’t have a good thing without some asshole trying to ruin it. The internet is the biggest example of this. The online world is brimming with trolls, ready to take you down and disrupt the peace of the web.
It may not be that way forever though. Google has recently announced a new tool to help ward off these internet trolls.
The tech is called Perspective API. It’s created through a collaboration of Jigsaw and Google’s Counter Abuse Technology.
The website explains,
“Discussing things you care about can be difficult. The threat of abuse and harassment online means that many people stop expressing themselves and give up on seeking different opinions.”
And they’re so right – who wants to have an intelligent discussion with someone who just calls you an idiot while adding nothing to the conversation?
API has already gotten a lot of attention. Publishers like The New York Times and The Guardian are already using the technology to monitor their comment sections in real time. This is before scoring the individual comment based on the level of “toxicity”.
How was the level of toxicity decided? Well, the general definition provided by the research found was that the more toxic comments were, “rude, disrespectful, or unreasonable comment that is likely to make you leave a discussion.”
It was measured by asking internet users what they deemed to be productive or destructive comments. Basically, users got to decide what comments would offend them.
What the publishers actually do with this information, however, is totally up to them. So, Google’s Perspective API provides them with the information, and then the publisher can flag the comments or allow users to select which kind of forum they want to read.
No program is perfect, but all internet users can thank Google and Jigsaw for helping make the web a safer place. Jigsaw are definitely happy about the potential of what API can do.
Chief Research Scientist at Jigsaw, Lucas Dixon says,
“Advances in machine learning suggest that machines might be able to facilitate the way we communicate and not only in terms of efficiency, but also in terms of the quality of our conversations too. Perspective has the potential to help people hear, understand, and resolve their differences.”
We can’t wait to see how those already using the program implement it.