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AI's Not Just in the News; It's Influencing the News

The 2019 AI and the News Challenge called for projects aimed at ensuring ethical use of AI. Here are the winning entries.

Many organizations are grappling with the ethical considerations of artificial intelligence and machine learning, which offer promise as well as pitfalls. This is especially true in the news industry, where ethical concerns aren’t just a way to set organizations apart but are central to functions of a free press.

To that end, the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative--a joint project of the MIT Media Lab and the Harvard Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society--put out a call in September for its AI and the News Open Challenge. The initiative was looking for experimental approaches to the issues of platform governance, halting bad actors, empowering journalism, and reimagining AI and the news.

The Initiative said it received more than 500 applications, half of which came from outside the United States. On Dec. 4, the initiative announced its 66 finalists competing for a share of $750,000. On March 12, the Initiative announced the winners.

“AI’s impact to quality news and information are a global concern,” said Paul Cheung, Knight Foundation’s director of Journalism and Technology Innovation, in a press release. “We are thrilled that our winners represent a global community of journalists and technologists who are offering a diverse array of solutions to ensure AI is used for public good.”

Read on to learn more about the winners, whose work on ensuring the ethical applications of AI and ML can serve as models across all industries as more and more organizations implement and expand their use of the technologies.

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