AI to tackle gender based online abuse
Professor in Conversational AI at the National Robotarium, Verena Rieser, has been awarded £1m funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to create create state-of-the-art AI tools that use a broad variety of viewpoints, perspectives and experiences to improve the detection of online abuse. The project has been set up by researchers at the National Robotarium in response to a recent report published by Glitch, the UK’s leading charity against online abuse.
The project has been set up by researchers at the National Robotarium in response to a recent report published by Glitch, the UK’s leading charity against online abuse.
The report by Glitch highlights the current “epidemic of online abuse” being experienced particularly by women and non-binary people, with 46% of those reported experiencing attacks online since the beginning of COVID-19. 29% of people who had experienced online abuse prior to the pandemic reported it being worse during lockdown.
Gender was the most frequently cited reason for online abuse, with 48% of respondents reported suffering from gender-based online violence.
National Robotarium researchers will engage with experts on gender-based violence and online harassment to build mechanisms that automatically generate counter-narratives aimed at perpetrators and a chatbot for providing proactive support to victims and survivors.
A key ambition of the project is to increase digital literacy concerning the safe use of social media from an early age. This will be achieved through the development of learning materials which focus on helping children identify what online gender-based abuse is and how to deal with it.
Additional outcomes from the project will include data on the type and frequency of online abuse experienced by victims. New and updated datasets will be shared with the wider research community for the purposes of developing further strategies.