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How IIT Kanpur’s New AI Assistant Is Different From Other Corona Helpdesks

How IIT Kanpur’s New AI Assistant Is Different From Other Corona Helpdesks

Ambika Choudhury

Recently, a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) joined hands with InfoPost, an online media startup to develop an AI assistant for truth and fact-checking of COVID19 related news. The AI assistant is known as Satyanweshi and is built to help the users for truth checking.

With the rise of the epidemic, there has also been an increase in fake news over the popular social media platforms. While these fake information is being continuously busted by researchers and news outlets, it is difficult for an average user to understand and distinguish between fake and true news immediately.



About Satyanweshi

According to the researchers, Satyanweshi (the seeker of truth in Sanskrit) is just like another contact in your WhatsApp contact list. Whenever a message or any question is typed, the assistant responds with some well-searched answers.

For instance, if a user is unsure about whether things like garlic cures the COVID-19 disease or not, one can simply type that sentence in the chat window, and the AI assistant will determine and inform that the news is indeed a piece of fake information according to several fake news busting platforms. 

According to the researchers, the main features behind this AI solution are mentioned below: –

  1. Detect fake news that is already busted by fact-checkers: To help the users know and understand the truth behind any news or message, this AI assistant checks several fact-checking websites when you type in a query. It shows the results along with their ratings and the URLs so that you can be confident about the news/message that you are reading. 
  2. To receive general information: The assistant is not limited to fact-checking news. It provides general information regarding COVID-19 from reliable sources such as WHO, CDC, or National Health websites. It is also capable of providing answers to frequently asked questions on this pandemic.  
  3. Capability to find relevant news articles: If any query is neither a fact-checking query nor a general information query, then AI assistant provides links to news outlets or responses provided by Google search to the user.

Behind The Bot

To understand the query of users and provide appropriate and detailed answers, machine learning techniques such as active learning approaches have been deployed. 

How This AI Assistant Is Different From MyGov Corona Helpdesk Or WHO COVID-19 Chatbot 

According to the researchers, the main difference between this AI solution and the others is that Satyanweshi is not a number-based information retrieval system. The assistant reads the query entered by the user, understands the intent and context of the query as well as searches for the most appropriate response.

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For instance, if someone types a suspicious message, the bot triggers a fact check, and if it is about the pandemic, the bot searches for the relevant information. Unlike the MyGov Corona Helpdesk or WHO coronavirus information chatbot, this AI assistant provides any general information or news articles. According to the researchers, the AI behind Satyanweshi is intelligent enough to ‘understand’ the question and help the user to the truth.

Wrapping Up

According to the researchers, this AI solution will be helpful for journalists, bloggers, and social media influencers, and any responsible citizen who cares to share only accurate information. The AI assistant is currently in the beta stage and is already available for public use. This version has all the essential features that the final solution will have along with certain restrictions. 

The researchers stated that the full version will be publicly released in a few days’ time. The full version will be released in a multilingual format so that people can even check facts in other languages. Furthermore, a later version of this solution will have images and videos to be fact-checked.

To use this service, create a new contact named Satyanweshi with the number +1-4155238886. Then, open its chat window on WhatsApp and send the first message as “join milk-had” to register.

Watch the video here-

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