Factiverse secures IPN funds for explainable AI.

Congratulations to Factiverse who got an IPN over the summer! An Innovation Project for the Industrial Sector, or IPN for short, is a funding instrument providing grants to innovation projects led by businesses which rely extensively on R&D activities. The funding was given to Factiverse with partners, namely the University of Bergen (UiB), the University of Delft in the Netherlands and Faktisk.no. We met up with Head of Engineering Christopher Maxwell and Data Scientist Maximillian Reimer, who work at Factiverse.

Private Photo: The Factiverse Team

It all started in 2019 with Vinay Setty, an associate professor in machine learning. He was working on AI/NLP prototype for detection of misinformation in news and articles. It attracted attention from the University of Stavanger, Validé and local investors that helped him to start the company, apply for patent and find cofounder, Maria Amelie. Today the company is developing a solution to empower journalists and analysts to find controversial information faster and save time on tedious research. 

Bilde av Maria og Vinay
Private photo: Maria Amelie and Vinay Setty

False information spreads very fast

The problem of fake news, disinformation and misinformation in the online and social media speaks for itself - “Currently companies like Meta perform manual content checks, but there are a lot of limitations to what they can achieve using this method”, says Christopher. 

The amount of information is growing every minute. One mistake, one rumor or false article can lead to wrong decisions costing millions of euros and affecting the stock market, public health and even our democracy. There is a need for solutions that can automate research and detection of controversial information. 

Media and finance

In the case of journalists, there are fewer dedicated fact-checkers in the newsrooms compared to last decade. Automating parts of this process can enable journalists to spend more time on producing quality content. Testing the tool showed how important it is for the fact-checking algorithms to be combined with tools that are currently being used. 

In addition to media, Factiverse is also completing tests with partners from the finance and communications industry. “In the finance industry, high stakes decisions are made based on opinions. Having the ability to double check facts quickly can be incredibly valuable”. 

Working with partners

While the end goal is to make tools for Business to Consumer, Factiverse is developing the product for Business to Business. Working with industry partners is a good way to get the prototype in the hands of a few actors who, in return, provide high quality feedback. 

“The network of early testers came from the networks of Vinay and co-founder Maria, who is deeply connected to the Norwegian media industry.” Christopher explains.

“What we have found through working with industry is that there are two kinds of users, those that are excited about getting their hands on new technology and those that are skeptical”. 

A lot of skepticism comes from a lack of explainability, not being able to check the reasoning behind results, which can further make it hard to trust algorithms. Maximillian tells us that these unexplainable models are prone to bias and can create simple heuristics which can break down in unexpected ways. Users can be right to distrust these kinds of algorithms, and the best way to ensure that they create accurate statements is to make the process less opaque.  

The IPN is aimed at tackling some of these issues with explainable AI and to avoid black box algorithms. “Biases and simple heuristics can cause massive issues for explainable AI. It becomes incredibly difficult to detect when something is wrong with your result if you don’t have insight into the process, garbage in garbage out.”

We wish Factiverse and their partners good luck with their IPN and hope to see more successful applications from the NORA.startup network soon!

For more information about IPN - click here.

Watch our webinar on IPNs here.   


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Publisert 1. nov. 2022 12:10 - Sist endret 1. nov. 2022 12:10