We’re delighted to announce that we have been successful in securing UKRI funding to help combat fake news during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project, in collaboration with Elena Musi from the University of Liverpool, aims to help the public identify “semi-fake news” and build “fake news immunity”.
“Semi-fake news” is information that uses selective existing facts, such as partial scientific results or single anecdotes, to reach false evaluations. This puts it out of the reach of most automated fact-checkers because of the lack of outright mistruths.
Work on the project starts this week, and will deliver its outcomes by the middle of 2021.
Many congratulations to Rory Duthie, who today successfully defended his PhD thesis on Mining Ethos in Parliamentary Debate. He was examined by Prof. Benno Stein from Bauhaus University, and Prof. Stephen McKenna from Dundee. After spending much of 2019 working in data analytics for HSBC, Rory has returned to the group and is now is now working as a postdoc, investigating connections between argumentation and hypotheses.
We are delighted to welcome Mark K. Smith into the group as an Honorary Professor. Mark is CEO of ContactEngine, a company specialising in conversational AI. ARG-tech and ContactEngine have been collaborating for some time now exploring ideas underpinning Human Computer Rapport, an integrated way of handling conversational context. Mark’s appointment in recognition of his leadership and insight in AI R&D represents a ramping up in this collaboration which will see close working between the two teams.
Chris was today giving evidence at the All Party Parliamentary Group on AI at the House of Lords. The focus of his contribution was on the reality of AI’s competence and the great distance that remains before AGI is imminent.
The start of the year has seen some exciting staff changes in ARG-tech. We welcome Dimitra Zografistou, who joins us from FORTH to work on models of argument representation. Rory Duthie is finishing writing up his thesis and starting to work as a research assistant on connections between argumentation and hypotheses. And finally, John Lawrence and Jacky Visser have both been appointed to permanent lectureships in the group.
We’re delighted that our survey of the field of Argument Mining is just out with Computational Linguistics. It provides the most up-to-date review currently accessible and is available now online.
Abstract. Argument Mining is the automatic identification and extraction of the structure of inference and reasoning expressed as arguments presented in natural language. Understanding argumentative structure makes it possible to determine not only what positions people are adopting, but also why they hold the opinions they do, providing valuable insights in domains as diverse as financial market prediction and public relations. This paper explores the techniques that establish the foundations for argument mining, provides a review of recent advances in argument mining techniques, and discusses the challenges faced in automatically extracting a deeper understanding of reasoning expressed in language in general.
On Monday 17th June, Chris is addressing the Parliamentary & Scientific Committee at Westminster at its monthly meeting which this month is dedicated to the theme of Fake News. He’ll be talking on what fake news isn’t as well as what it is — and the consequences for what can be done.
Following our work delivering tutorials at IJCAI2016, ACL2016 and ESSLLI2017, Chris Reed and Katarzyna Budzynska are this year delivering a tutorial at ACL2019 in Florence on Sunday, 28 July.
We will be focusing on argument mining, and given that it is such a fast moving area, the way in which the field has been shaped by advances over the past three years.
The tutorial has its own dedicated website at arg.tech/acl2019tut
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the tutors — and we hope to see you in Florence in August.
Henrique Lopes Cardoso is visiting us this week from the University of Porto Dept of Informatics Engineering to develop our collaboration around argument mining. He today gave us a short introduction to the exciting work at Porto on argument mining and related themes and will be working over the coming ten days with IAT and our infrastructure, and meeting with members of the team.
We’re excited to announce that we’ve been successful in a recent Defence and Security Accelerator programme run by the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory.
The way that an individual engages in dialogue is as unique to them as their fingerprint. So can we automatically identify individuals from their discourse behaviour? This is the idea now being implemented in our Dialogical Fingerprinting work with DSTL. Work starts today and preliminary results will be available for public release towards the end of the year.