Can Robots Tell the Truth?
Hi, I am a student in journalism and am preparing an article about robots (like the Washington Post’s Truth Teller) validating facts instead of journalists. I am curious to know the Future Journalism Project’s point of view of about this. What are the consequences for journalists, journalism and for democracy? — Melanié Robert
Many thanks for this fascinating question and my apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Here’s what happened:
I started thinking about this, and then I started writing about it. And then I started thinking that what I really needed to do was some reporting. You know, journalism.
I didn’t know much about the Washington Post’s Truth Teller project. For others that don’t, it’s an attempt to create an algorithm that can fact check political speeches in real time.
Since I didn’t know much about it about I got in touch and interviewed the two project leads: Steven Ginsberg, the Post’s National Political Editor, and Cory Haik, the Post’s Executive Producer for Digital News.
They gave me background on Truth Teller and how it came about, and then where they hope it leads.
But that doesn’t really get to the sociocultural and philosophical questions you pose. So I called upon someone else. His name is Damon Horowitz.
Damon’s spent his career in both artificial intelligence and philosophy. He’s currently Google’s In-House Philosopher (seriously, it’s on his business card) and Director of Engineering. He also teaches philosophy at Columbia University.
So, after talking to these people, and thinking about it some more, I wrote a fair bit.
You can find your answer at theFJP.org and I hope it answers some of what you’re looking for. — Michael
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Image: Marvin the Paranoid Android, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.