On Fake News And The Outer Limits Of Artificial Intelligence
Anything can be automated. At least, that seems to be the industry perspective. Humans are rash, impulsive and tainted by personal bias. So why not just replace them with machines? Apparently, that's what Facebook thought when they fired their entire team of news editors for political bias, replacing them instead with a new algorithm. That did not go well. It had been a while since Facebook started out on the receiving end of criticisms for having a news team that promoted conservative viewpoints. The news team, which was in charge of deciding which topics were trending on Facebook, were being accused of unfairly promoting conservative news stories and articles online.
While the tech giant initially denied these allegations, they made a complete u-turn later in the year, summarily firing their entire Trending News team and replacing them with an algorithm that ranks articles based on popularity. Without a set of human eyes keeping check of the algorithm's handiwork, the instant result was a trending story titled: "BREAKING: Fox News Exposes Traitor Megyn Kelly, Kicks Her Out for Backing Hillary". So not only was this news inaccurate and completely made up, it also backfired against Facebook's initial stance of trying to get rid of conservative bias from the site. Because that's what happens when you underappreciate the value of human judgment. Guy Sheetrit, founder of Over The Top SEO, has some interesting thoughts on this.