阿里巴巴发布“AI谣言粉碎机” 让父母不再每天过愚人节 – iHeima

What happened: Alibaba’s research and development unit DAMO (Discovery, Adventure, Momentum, and Outlook) Academy rolled out on April Fool’s Day a rumor verification service that could help Chinese netizens, especially seniors, to identify rumors and false news.

“By bringing it to the public on April Fool’s Day, we want to raise public awareness of the existence of such a technology,” a company spokeswoman told TechNode.

By leveraging new technologies like artificial intelligence, deep learning, and neural networks, the rumor buster has an accuracy rate as high as 81%, according to the company. It has been working on the technology for quite some time and its business applications are in the pipeline, the spokeswoman said, including law, finance, and entertainment.

Why it’s important: Rumors escalating to viral heights is a known phenomenon in the internet age, and China is no exception. Outrageous rumors in the past include plastic seaweed sweeping the country and mung bean soup as a cure (in Chinese) for diseases from cancer to diabetes. With the rising adoption of smartphones, more seniors in China are accessing the internet than ever before, and are particularly susceptible to viral rumors. More than 60% of interviewees have been affected by internet rumors, according to a survey of middle-aged to elderly internet users conducted by People’s Daily, the central government’s official news agency. However, the service may find it difficult to discern real from rumor by government standards. In 2018, China launched “Piyao“, an AI-powered rumor-refuting platform that operates under the guidance of 27 government departments.

TechNode confirmed with Alibaba that the fact-checking tool is indeed an actual product. Chinese culture and arts publication RADII reported the launch as part of its April Fools Day coverage, suggesting news of the product launch was a prank.

Update: This article was updated to reflect additional comment from Alibaba in response to media reports that the product was fake and part of an April Fools’ joke.

Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.

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