Former CNN president and chief operating officer, Greg D’Alba and former CNN senior vice president Charles Theiss have co-founded a news technology venture that will look to completely change the way news is currently reported. The plan is to combine blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) to both automate and authenticate breaking news to minimize human error and bias. Announced January 9th of this year, the start-up VIDL (Vital Intelligence Data Live) will launch this summer.
Specific details about how VIDL will use these technologies is currently unavailable but the tech they plan on using is described as “proprietary machine and deep learning” In other words, VIDL will use AI and Blockchain to identify, collect, vet, distribute and track breaking news and events. The real interesting part is that they plan on doing all this in real-time, globally, and primarily based on social media activity. It may seem a bit off to use social media to help reduce “fake news”, but with the computing power of AI and the immutability and distributed nature of blockchain technology, it’s actually a pretty good idea.
We’ve all seen those almost notorious bogus tweets and facebook posts about a certain celebrity passing away or the warning that a particular social network has changed their privacy rules and can now steal your private information to sell. Imagine if there was a way to scan or search for every instance of this kind of post and compare it to multiple verifiable sources before it ever made it to your timeline. AI has this potential. Similar technology is already being used to learn your online surfing habits to deliver targeted advertisements to you. Once AI has been used to search, vet, and verify a particular news report or incident, it can be distributed via a decentralized blockchain where it can’t be altered or censored. The exact way or method VIDL will use to implement this is still a big unknown.
VIDL has also announced their partnership with big data and AI company Enterra Solutions to help develop and implement their “Truth in News AI platform”. It’s definitely an interesting idea. Your daily update on current events vetted and distributed by computerized intelligence. Who would have thought the pursuit of integrity in journalism would come to this?