New AI Designed To Spot, Zap Toxic Online Comments

Call it the war on rough online comments.

A firm with Google roots has introduced artificial intelligence that can locate and isolate “toxic” material posted by visitors to the comments section of news websites.

The AI is called Perspective. Its supporters say it improves the online conversation – and takes on the annoying trolls who have proliferated, often anonymously, on the Web.

But Perspective has critics on the both the left and right, because there's no one boss of the Web.

Some pundits say AI can't make the deeper judgment calls anyway. They side with freedom, within reason – and many others favor attaching names to comments.

There’s also the larger issue of Web freedom, which been likened to the wild, wild West.

If that’s the case, Google has decided to try to tame some of that frontier.

News outlets like Wired, New York magazine, the BBC and the New York Times have variously reported on how Perspective can help to spot toxic reader comments -- and then bury or delete them from the conversation, no human hands, or minds, involved.

Perspective is an application program interface, or API, that uses machine learning in order to detect harassment and abuse online – and then act accordingly on the so-called “toxicity” in posts.  It has been made available worldwide to developers by Jigsaw, a Google spinoff that’s now operated by Alphabet.

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