Partnership on AI welcomes Code for Africa to its battle against misinformation

While COVID-19 was a concern for many throughout 2020, it quickly became apparent that a more potent danger was emerging at the worst possible moment – misinformation.

Throw a dart at a wall of grifters and you can find a theory that isn’t based in fact or reality. At what we’re calling the start of the pandemic, 5G was fingered as the reason the pandemic was happening despite there being no evidence that 5G and COVID-19 were linked.

But grifters have to grift which is why we need organisations such as the Partnership on AI to insure that grift doesn’t have dire consequences.

While artificial intelligence (AI) has been used as the boogeyman in many Hollywood blockbusters, the reality is that when used correctly, the technology can be used to assist humanity more than we could if went at it alone.

One of the ways AI can help is in identifying misinformation and to assist in the development of this application for the technology, Partnership on AI has enlisted help from some new partners.

While Adobe is the bigger firm partnering with Partnership on AI, we’re more interested in Code for Africa’s involvement.

Code for Africa is a network of civic tech and open data labs that is aware of the unintended consequences of decisions made in the West affect the global population with a focus on Africa.

Being a part of the Partnership on AI then is good news for Africans who have had to watch on as the likes of Silicon Valley create solutions for the US while seemingly ignoring what happens in the rest of the world.

“Context matters. Machine learning is reshaping the way that authorities make decisions, impacting millions of lives. It also shapes how human rights defenders fight online hate and abuse, and even what is considered to be truth. But, in Africa, many of these decisions are based on data and algorithms that have no relevance to our reality. This new coalition will help change this,” Code for Africa chief executive officer, Justin Arenstein said in a statement.

This is great news and we hope to see more initiatives such as this including African organisations in how policies are shaped.

Other organisations which have joined Partnership on AI include:

  • Adobe
  • Meedan
  • Full Fact
  • Duke Reporters Lab

Partnership on AI says that all of the new members agree that AI is here to stay and that its capabilities can and should be using to fight misinformation.

“Adobe, Duke Reporters’ Lab, Full Fact, Code for Africa, and Meedan add exceptional, varied expertise in content integrity, fact-checking, and mis/disinformation to the PAI community,” leader of the AI and Media Integrity Program at Partnership on AI, Claire Leibowicz said in a statement.

“We are additionally gratified to be expanding PAI’s global reach — any meaningful solutions in this space require deep cultural awareness and nuance. We are eager to learn from this cohort,” Leibowicz added.

For those interested in the work Partnership on AI does, we recommend the organisation’s annual report from last year as a starting point.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]


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