Feeds

MIT boffin's 'truth goggles' probe print and pols

Journalists and politicians run for cover

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A student at MIT’s Media Lab is developing a browser plug-in that can check the accuracy of information posted online, and may use it to monitor political speeches for untruths.

For his master’s thesis, Dan Schultz – who was recently named a 2011 Knight-Mozilla Fellow – came up with the idea for “truth goggles” while talking to a fact checker at Truthsquad, who was explaining that the principle problem with fact checking was getting people access to the skinny. Schultz then came up with the idea as a way to correct incorrect information, but more importantly to get people to think critically about what they are reading.

“Even fact checkers aren’t perfect - who watches the fact checker, after all – and the problem will continue if people stop looking for the truth,” Schultz explained to The Register. “This software puts the onus on users and makes it as easy as possible to find corroborating facts. Ideally, it will trigger skepticism among users and encourage them to think more about what they read.”

The prototype browser software, which uses APIs from Politifact, will be submitted as part of his master’s thesis in May, and will initially concentrate on the printed word, which is a lot easier for computers to parse.

Schultz, however, may soon be able to scale up the original code and begin human testing. Looking ahead, it should be possible to integrate speech recognition and add that to the code, allowing the "truth goggles" to scan television in real time.

Sadly, the system almost certainly won’t be available before next year’s US presidential election, but Schultz said he is hopeful that certain mediums could be tackled in time – notably political advertising.

He envisages that his software could one day be installed on a smart television or computer browser, and people could add notes as to the truthiness of a political advert, which would then be available to other people running the software.

Eventually, if Schultz's work is successful, journalists could run a quick fact check on articles before printing them – although for some publications, this could lead to entire issues getting junked. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.