Google-backed Artificial Intelligence Tool to Help Improve News Writing
With the alarming rise of fake news that allegedly contributed to the win of Donald Trump, Google has come up with something that is intended to help journalists in writing supposedly better news stories. It’s an artificial intelligence system that is designed to address the rise of “churnalism,” which has apparently destroyed the traditional media ecosystem in an unwanted way.
Clickbait content online has negatively affected readers. The repackaged press releases or downright fake news that carry the intention to disinform or misinform are making readers lose their sense of what’s right or wrong. They have also reduced real journalists to mere insignificant competitors in the online content race. The PR distortions and lies peddled online is making the internet less and less credible as a source of useful information.
To try to solve this problem, a group of researchers, with the help of Google, has turned to artificial intelligence to build a tool.
JUICE – The AI Tool
A team of researchers based in London is developing a tool to help journalists in generating more unique and high quality online content with the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning. This group is headed by Neil Maiden, a digital creativity professor at Cass Business School in the UK. AI is already being used to write news stories but this is something differerent as its goal is to make use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to help journalists in using or adding more useful and interesting bits of details to their work.
The tool is called JUICE and it is being developed with funding from Google’s Digital News Initiative. This tool is meant to help journalists in discovering and exploring new creative angles on articles or stories they are writing. The core product under the JUICE project is a Google Docs add-on that employs artificial intelligence systems to help news writers through recommendations. Writers can just click on a button to ask JUICE for different ways to write an article. According to Maiden, it can offer “creative and productive advice about the ways in which you can take your story in valuable directions.”
How Does It Work
JUICE uses language processing, web searches, recommendation algorithms, and other AI systems to assist journalists as they write their stories. JUICE is designed to discreetly support journalists in the work they do.
JUICE has access to 470 news websites. Through this, it is able to perform “creative searches” whenever a journalist types words deemed actionable into Google Docs. These “creative searches” bring out articles, cartoons, images, and other content relevant to the keyword being typed by a journalist. JUICE tries to inform the journalist about things he/she may not know about a particular topic.
JUICE was developed in collaboration with a number of experienced journalists who shared inputs on how they would elaborate or develop angles or spin to a story to make it interesting, distinctive, and relevant. This tool uses six strategies, namely individual search, causal search, quirky search, quantifiable elements, ramifications, and data visualizations. All of these strategies are undertaken when appropriate to provide recommendations to a journalist to help produce a better news story. The quirky search strategy, for example, access a digital database containing more than 30,000 political cartoons to help a journalist decide on underlying themes or tap on comedy while writing a news story.
Availability and Testing
JUICE is still in the testing stages and is expected to be available only next year. The researchers behind this project decided to test it on students before introducing it to professional working environments. One of the things the researchers found after the testing (with students) is that this tool can serve as a good training tool for journalists. JUICE has the ability to provide journalist trainees a tour of how experienced journalists do what they do.
JUICE may not necessarily become the tool that finally eliminates fake and misleading news or content online. However, it’s a good attempt to help legitimate journalists in competing with online content intended to deceive or mislead. It can assist journalists or help train new ones who can write content content with more value, surprise, and the right amount of novelty to pique the curiosity and interest of readers.