Ken Goldberg on RoBhat Labs in Daily Cal

08 Nov, 2017

Ken Goldberg on RoBhat Labs in Daily Cal

BCNM Executive Director and UC Berkeley engineering professor Ken Goldberg is quoted in a Daily Californian article by Olivia Nouriani, about RoBhat Labs (Medium), created by UC Berkeley juniors Ash Bhat and Rohan Phadte. Bhat and Phadte used machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence, to create, a Google Chrome extension that checks for propaganda bots on Twitter.

Bhat and Phadte decided to take matters into their own hands where Twitter has failed in identifying and cleaning up propaganda bots on an appropriate scale, publicly releasing earlier this month. They originally developed technology to identify the spread of “fake news” on Facebook, but upon turning to Twitter, they realized that non-human automated "bot" accounts were amplifying polarizing opinions and falsified information on a platform dedicated to real, live people's opinions on important matters.

Ken Goldberg is quoted below:

Ken Goldberg, campus professor of engineering, said he believes Twitter has not made a strong effort to prevent bots because fake accounts benefit the company.

“They’re being judged by how many people are online and how many tweets are going out, so you can see why there’s no incentive for them to stop the bots,” Goldberg said. [...]

“Something we’ve been trying to encourage in our students is being socially aware and helping broader causes,” Goldberg said. “These two are really exemplary because they’ve put it into practice.”

The article notes that, within the first day of the Chrome extension launch, "1,700 users have already applied the extension to more than 3,200 Twitter accounts." has garnered attention on WIRED, Mashable, UC Berkeley official news, and news outlets such as CBS Local and KTVU. Moving forward, Bhat and Phadte look to apply to their model to other social media platforms.

Read the entire article on the Daily Cal here.

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