Feb 13, 2020
Multidisciplinary collaboration between California Polytechnic State University
and University of Miami will use Knight Foundation support to create AI-driven wire service for statehouse coverage
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIF. Feb. 13, 2020. A $200,000 investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will help Cal Poly Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy (IATPP) develop an artificial intelligence system that will strengthen news coverage of state and local governments, the IATPP announced.
Researchers aim to build a prototype news wire service where narrative content covering state legislatures is automatically generated from primary data sources, and can be distributed to local and regional news organizations for publication. The ambition is to empower hometown media to receive articles specifically covering the activities of their state representatives and issue of local/regional significance that are currently absent because of limited reporting resources and/or being overlooked by traditional wire services.
“An informed citizenry is crucial to a healthy democracy, but the public is rapidly losing access to this type of information,” said Dr. Foaad Khosmood, Primary Investigator on the grant. “Our approach is to use semi-structured primary source data from state legislative proceedings in California and Florida to automatically generate quality, relevant and factual news content as a service to local news organizations.”
AI For Reporters is a multi-institutional collaboration between California Polytechnic State University, and the University of Miami’s School of Communications. Other strategic partners include Graz University of Technology Institute of Interactive Systems and Data Science (ISDS) and Google.
“This project represents an unprecedented partnership between the engineering strength of Cal Poly and the journalism prowess of the University of Miami for the benefit of supporting state-level journalism,” added Professor Lindsay Grace, Knight Chair at University of Miami and co-PI on the project.
The collaboration comes at a time when statehouse reporting is at an all-time low. According to a report by PEW Research Center, full‑time newspaper newsroom staffing declined by 30% between 2003 through 2012, and less than one-third of U.S. newspapers assign any reporters — full time or part time — to statehouses. The result is that the media — the primary entity the public relies on to monitor and report important issues — is no longer able to effectively serve this important function. As the "watchguard" function of the press is diminished, so too is the ability of a well-informed public to engage with and impact the decision-making process and outcomes of their government.
The project is also partnering with real newsrooms to test and verify the solution. “Among the exciting changes in media today are the new tools and technologies available for creative and compelling stories," said David Lesher, editor and co-founder of CalMatters, a nonprofit, multimedia news organization based in Sacramento. "AI, in the hands of an experienced, independent journalist, can broaden a reporter's sources for information and make stories more relevant to a specific audience.”
“Many local new organizations no longer have the necessary resources to cover state legislative hearings, press conferences and other state and municipal government proceedings,” said Paul Cheung, Knight Foundation director for journalism and technology innovation. “This collaboration will explore the viability of using AI as an alternative reporting tool for local news organizations to enhance coverage.”
Prof. Foaad Khosmood
Forbes Associate Prof. of Computer Engineering
IATPP Research Director
foaad -at- calpoly -dot- edu
Prof. Lindsay Grace
University of Miami School of Communicatinos
lgrace -at- miami -dot- edu
Nov 26, 2019
GATO 365 brings low-cost and scaleable smart educational technologies to opportunity-zone communities by providing learning infrastructure for hundreds of students with a single device per classroom.
- Dr. Immanuel Williams
- Steven Luu
Sep 20, 2019
Project Panoptyk is a game engine designed to run Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games with information creation, sharing, and exchange as the central gameplay focus. This engine is a work in progress, intended to serve as a platform for simulating human/robot interaction, as well as automatic generation of game assets, quests, and real-estate. The project also aims to create an open platform allowing indie and research communities to experiment with MMO concepts. In pursuit of these goals, we identify and address a number of challenges that have traditionally made it difficult for independent designers or researchers to be competitive in creation of new MMO games.
- Mitch Miller
- Sean Mendonca
- Nathan Philliber
Miller, Mitchell, et al. "Panoptyk: information driven MMO engine." Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games. ACM, 2019.
Sep 15, 2019
San Luis Obispo, California — Cal Poly’s Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy that has received over $10 million in funding for its Digital Democracy initiative is starting off the 2019 academic year with five active projects and initiatives.
The research institute is focused on emerging technologies that have the ability to impact the civic space and includes a portfolio of artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, data mining and more specialized focuses including deep-fake detection and records analysis.
The projects include AI for Reporters, Anti-Bot Operations, Panopytk Information Engine, IOT Data Privacy and Security, Gato 365 Learning Center. Research Director, Foaad Khosmood P.hD., who was a key manager in the Digital Democracy project is involved in a number of these active initiatives.
Founder and Advisor Sam Blakeslee commented on IATPP stated, “The Institute at Cal Poly is an ideal staging ground for technologies that have the chance to positively affect both policy and citizen life. The current projects are exciting and have potential to captivate.”
George Will Cal Poly Alumni and Intern Fellow
Feb 14, 2019
The Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy (IATPP) was invited to the Spring session of the Little Hoover Commission (LHC) on the subject of Artificial Intelligence. The LHC functions as a publicly funded think tank with non-partisan mission of conducting research and informing the rest of the California state government of important policy implications.
IATTP founder, Sam Blakeslee and Sr. Research Fellows Foaad Khosmood and Elise St. John traveled to San Francisco to take part in the discussion. Blakeslee and Khosmood, drawing on their experience with Digital Democracy urged the government to produce better quality machine-readable records that can be better analyzed by citizens and researchers alike.
The group also discussed implications of AI with respect to workforce education, privacy and ethics. Other invited guests included representatives from Microsoft, IBM, Adobe, and Governors office on Technology.