As beautiful and wonderful as the internet can be, it can also be extremely hostile. Internet trolls have been around since the beginning of the internet, but the bullying seems to be getting worse and worse. The current political situation in our country certainly isn't helping unite people, and bullies seem to be finding it easy and weirdly satisfying to voice their derogatory opinions and full blown hatred in comment sections.
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Well, Google has had enough and is implementing a plan to do something about it. Google's Counter Abuse Technology Team announced a new project called Perspective in collaboration with Jigsaw, a tech incubator owned by Google's parent company. Perspective is a new piece of code that will give any developer access to the anti-harassment tools that Jigsaw has worked on for over a year.
Because everyone deserves to spend time on the internet without being harassed.
"Imagine trying to have a conversation with your friends about the news you read this morning, but every time you said something, someone shouted in your face, called you a nasty name or accused you of some awful crime," Jared Cohen, Jigsaw's president, said in a statement.
If online bullying hasn't affected you personally, chances are you've at least witnessed it.
Here's how Perspective works
Part of the team's broader Conversation-AI initiative, it's essentially an automatic online moderator technology that uses machine learning to detect insults, harassment and abusive speech online.
For publications that wish to keep the comment sections open (as opposed to other news sites like The Week and Bloomberg, which have shut comments down completely), the intent of Perspective is to keep comments sections free of harassment without needing a human being to manually sift through them. The goal is for the new anti-bullying tool to speed up the process of reviewing online conversations, but also to prohibit toxic comments from being published to begin with.
The Perspective release brings Conversation-AI a step closer to its goal of helping to promote troll-free communication online by filtering out abusive comments.
The tool is still in the early stages of development, but if it works the way Google hopes it works, it could be a very beneficial anti-bullying tool to help make the internet great again.