Using AI to take the “emotional work” out of community management

first_imgUsing AI to take the “emotional work” out of community managementSpirit AI’s Dr Mitu Khandaker: “We are trying to make the lives of community managers and moderators easier”Haydn TaylorSenior Staff WriterWednesday 6th June 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleSpirit AIManaging player behaviour online is one of the biggest challenges facing developers and publishers at the moment. Earlier this year, we saw the logical conclusion of what happens when toxic behaviour goes unchecked after a disagreement in Call of Duty boiled over into the real world, leading to a swatting incident which left a 28-year-old father of two shot dead in his home. While this is perhaps the most extreme example on record, it is indicative of the myriad problems facing online communities, and illustrates the desperate need for effective community management. At this year’s GDC, more than 30 companies — including Xbox, Twitch, Blizzard and Riot — announced the Fair Play Alliance, and pledged to work towards making safer, fairer, and healthier communities. Artificial intelligence firm Spirit AI was among the companies looking to reshape online communities, and has long been developing the tools to make it possible. Dr Mitu caught up with Spirit AI chief creative officer Dr Mitu Khandaker at Casual Connect in London last week to discuss how artificial intelligence can change the way we manage online communities. “Going into broader AI philosophy questions, there’s a lot of conversation about AI taking away people’s jobs and things like that,” says Khandaker. “But I think what the more interesting thing — wherever you fall on that conversation — that AI should do and can do, is take away the emotional work that people have to do in shitty jobs.” Enter Ally, the artificial intelligence designed to do just that. In essence, Ally can automate the complaints process in online games and communities, investigating abuse incidents and learning to understand the nuanced interactions of its members. “Part of the goal of Ally is to reduce the pain points of two types of users,” says Khandaker. “Firstly the player, because obviously we want to help create safer communities where people don’t feel like they are going to be harrassed. “But also we are trying to make the lives of community managers and moderators easier because often they have a really horrible job where they have to look at these awful logs and reports and delve into them and try to figure out what’s going. Instead of that, the system automates a lot of things that are quite obvious and shows them on the dashboard.”“The more interesting thing… that AI should do and can do, is take away the emotional work that people have to do in shitty jobs” This is the emotional labour Khandaker speaks of. It’s more than just time-consuming; it’s emotionally draining for community managers to sift through hours and hours of player interaction, especially when they are are abusive in nature. But Ally isn’t some objectivist moral arbiter ruling over communities and meting out justice. With Ally, Spirit AI has attempted to tackle one of the biggest problems with machine learning: understanding context.With the addition of contextual understanding, companies using Ally can set their own parameters for acceptable behaviour within the community. Along with knowing the difference between banter among friends and genuine harassment from strangers, Ally can also learn the colloquialisms, shorthand and memes of any given community. “This is the other thing with harassment… There might be certain keywords that we recognise as harassing, but if a friend is using them with me I might be fine with it,” says Khandaker. “There might be something totally innocuous, but coming from someone I don’t know and they are saying it in a certain way that a keyword based system wouldn’t pick up. “With some of the AI techniques we use, we can figure out from the context of the way it’s being used in the sentence, that it is harassment basically, that they are being malicious in someway. “You can understand if something is consensual or not. If I don’t respond to something, that probably means I wasn’t comfortable with it, or I could very explicitly say ‘no’, ‘go away’ or ‘fuck off’… If I have expressed that to something that didn’t seem a harassing word, but there is clearly something that has gone on there, that’s an instance we could flag up and say ‘this is clearly a case where the person is feeling targeted in someway’ and try to understand that.”“Myself and other people I know have been targeted and it’s a big topic of conversation. Why aren’t online platforms doing more?” Based on the parameters set out by platform holders, Ally can act accordingly. For example, any messages of a sexual nature being sent in a kid’s game could result in that player automatically muted in an instant.Other instances would see Ally building up a case against an individual player; a common occurrence in online communities is “flirt greetings”, where a player randomly messages other members in a flirtatious way. Although this might go broadly unreported, Ally can pick up on these patterns of behaviour and flag the user in question. Of course, as Khandaker says, there are communities where something like sexting is perfectly acceptable, providing it’s consensual, and that’s something Ally is also capable of distinguishing.”Communities have incredibly different needs, so it’s just about setting up the system so the community managers can say ‘okay, in this case, this is the kind of response that would happen’,” Khandaker explains.”We’re doing the detection piece for now, and the sort of intervention is still up to the community manager. But in the future we’re looking at how to automate different types of intervention. Riot has talked about this a lot actually, where educating users on what they did wrong actually lowers the rate of re-offending… It’s better than banning them outright because they are just going to keep re-offending.” Khandaker and her colleagues first conceived the idea of an artificial intelligence watching out for platform users around the time of Gamergate. “We were thinking about building systems that really contextually understands language, and what we can do with it,” she says. “There’s the idea of conversational AI, but at the same time — for me particularly — trying to understand online harassment in a really nuanced way, because honestly, it was a year into Gamergate. “We’re trying to help out companies that otherwise wouldn’t otherwise have [the capacity]” “Myself and other people I know have been targeted and it’s a big topic of conversation. Why aren’t online platforms doing more? I would like to see them embrace it. Facebook is doing some of this, trying to flag up toxic posts, but they have their own big team of data scientists and they’re taking a particular approach. We really want to help out other platforms that maybe aren’t able to do that themselves.”Therein lies one of the biggest obstacles facing widespread application of artificial intelligence to community management. While companies like Riot have a vested interest in tackling toxicity within League of Legends, they also have the resources to hire teams of psychologists and data scientists, a luxury not afforded to the smaller publishers and developers. With Ally, Spirit AI hopes to make the tools that companies like Riot have poured millions of dollars into accessible for everyone else. Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “We’re trying to fill the gap where maybe games companies don’t have the time, attention or resources to put into trying to figure out a solution for themselves, so we’re trying to help out companies that wouldn’t otherwise have [the capacity],” says Khandaker. “Technically the system is designed such that anywhere there is chat between people, it can slot in. We are absolutely interested in stuff like, ‘what would Twitter look like?'”However, it’s still early days for Ally. There are big plans for its future, but right now the focus is not only making the system smarter and better equipped to understand abuse, but also measure player and overall community happiness. “We’re working very closely with current partners in order to understand what categories of abuse or positive sentiment they are looking for,” says Khandaker. “We do a lot of work obviously in making sure we get to a very high level of confidence. We don’t want to return lots of false positives basically because that’s the most annoying thing as it creates more work for moderators. A lot of the work we have in our road map is really just improving that and understanding more types of harassment.” Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair 4 hours agoEA Play Live set for July 22Formerly E3-adjacent event moves to take place a month and half after the ESA’s showBy Jeffrey Rousseau 5 hours agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

Woman mysteriously pleads for help through Texas home security system: Sheriff

first_img(Wise County Sheriff’s Office) Authorities in Texas released this image asking for help in finding a young woman who they say mysteriously pleaded for help through a home’s security system before fleeing the scene, April 9, 2019. (WISE COUNTY, Texas) — Authorities in Texas are looking to find a young woman who they say mysteriously pleaded for help through a home’s security system before fleeing the scene.The woman, believed to be between the ages of 15 and 25, was seen on surveillance cameras at about 1:15 p.m. Tuesday in the Indian Trails subdivision between Decatur and Bridgeport, Texas, the Wise County Sheriff’s Office said.The woman, carrying a backpack, approached a home and left a message asking for help on the resident’s security system voicemail, according to the sheriff’s office.“I’m really scared. Will you please open your gate? Please?” she said in the four-second video released, according to ABC Dallas affiliate WFAA.Surveillance footage in the area showed her looking around as though someone was following her, the sheriff’s office said.She stayed in the area “until something appeared to attract her attention,” the sheriff’s office said, and then she immediately turned and ran toward a wooded area.“There’s some urgency in her voice,” Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin told WFAA. “It’s troubling… to know that this young woman is apparently concerned, in some level of need.”“The entire neighborhood has been canvassed and no one saw her or recognized her,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.There were no reports of runaways in the area, the sheriff’s office said, and local school districts said no one matching her description was absent from school during that time.Anyone with information is urged to call the sheriff’s office at 940-627-5971.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Optimists honor Farmington area student leaders

first_imgThe Farmington/Farmington Hills Breakfast Optimist Club recently honored students from five area high schools during its annual breakfast to honor leaders from Farmington Central, Farmington, Harrison,  Mercy, and North Farmington high schools.Back Row, from left: Optimist member and Leadership Awards organizer Terry Tipton, Farmington High School Principal Tom Shelton, North Farmington High School Principal Joe Greene, Farmington Public Schools’ Superintendent George Heitsch, Harrison High School Principal Jim Anderson, Mercy High School Principal Patricia Sadler, and Farmington Central High School Principal David Reese. Front Row, from left: Farmington High School Winner Isabelle Gerhart, North Farmington High School Winner Lily Kollin, Harrison High School Winner Rosie Burns Pavlick, Farmington Central high School Winner Vivian McKinney, and Mercy High School Winner Priyanka John. (Farmington Public Schools)Each school is asked to select a junior who has demonstrated leadership skills and human relation development through working in school-sponsored programs. The program is designed to present the honored juniors with a check for them to “do something good” in their respective school communities. These students are then asked back to the Leadership Breakfast the following year to share with the Club what they did with their monetary award.This year’s Leadership Award winners are:Vivian McKinney, Farmington Central High SchoolIsabelle Gerhart, Farmington High SchoolRosie Burns Pavlick, Harrison High SchoolPriyanka John, Mercy High SchoolLily Kollin, North Farmington High SchoolLast year’s winners were:Nia Mallory, Farmington Central High SchoolCaitlin Sheltrown, Farmington High SchoolAnnaliese Fowler, Harrison High SchoolKennedy Griest, Mercy High SchoolGabriela Sgambati, North Farmington High SchoolFor more information regarding the Leadership awards, call event organizer Terry L. Tipton, D.C., at 248-477-4200. For more information about the Farmington/Farmington Hills Optimist Club, visit Reported by Farmington Voice Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Unai Emery told to buy Wilfred Ndidi for Arsenal

first_imgArsenal manager, Unai Emery, has been told to get Leicester City midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi.According to Sky Sports pundit, Jamie Redknapp, the Gunners have been “crying out for years” for a player like Ndidi.The Nigerian was in superb form on Saturday, as Leicester beat Arsenal 2-0.The 22-year-old completed the most tackles (7) in the encounter, managed a 100% passing accuracy in the final third and also made key interceptions (3) and successful take-ons (3).“He does a great job. He’s the sort of player that I think Arsenal have been crying out for for years.“He’s 22 years of age, got great pace, good energy, can pass the ball.“I think about the game earlier in the season when he gave the ball away against Chelsea and I thought ‘I wonder how he’ll react’. He ended up scoring a goal after it.“For such a young man he plays with so much assurance and the sort of player that [Adams] would have loved to have in front of you.“You [Adams] played with the magnificent Patrick Vieira. At 22 years of age, he’s got it all,” Redknapp told Express Sport.last_img read more

WCU’s School of Stage and Screen to present drama ‘Really Really’

first_imgStudents and faculty from Western Carolina University’s School of Stage and Screen will be staging the hard-hitting drama “Really Really” beginning Thursday, March 22, and continuing through Sunday, March 25, in the Studio Theatre of WCU’s John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.Written by New York-based playwright Paul Downs Colaizzo, the fictional story centers on the consequences of a big party at an elite university, when a female student accuses a male member of the school’s rugby team of an act of sexual aggression.In a 2012 article for The Washington Post, Jessica Goldstein wrote that Colaizzo’s play “occupies the intersection between violence and intimacy, perhaps the most terrifying crossroads imaginable.” The plot, Goldstein wrote, “hinges on an allegation of a sexual nature that may or may not be true, because everyone involved has memories of that night that are foggy like a window after a rain, blurred by beer and sleep and, perhaps, a subconscious desire to forget.”Performances at WCU are set for 7:30 p.m. March 22-24 and at 3 p.m. March 25. The play is intended for mature audiences only and includes a scene with a graphic depiction of rape that some audience members may find disturbing. The play is not suitable for younger audiences.The production, part of the School of Stage and Screen’s Mainstage theatre season, will be directed by Colin Wasmund of the school’s faculty.Tickets are $15 for WCU faculty and staff, and seniors, and $20 for all others. For tickets or more information, call the Bardo Arts Center box office at 828-227-2479 or visit read more

Is Android Really Open? Skyhook’s Battle With Google Challenges That Claim

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Google#Location#NYT#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting dan rowinski Imagine you have a date set up with one of the prettiest girls in school. You may not be the most popular kid in the halls, but she seems to like you and going out with her will be a big boost to your reputation.Along comes the captain of the football team. He tells the girl that she cannot go out with you or her, or any of her friends, will never be able to date a football player ever again. In the sociological mess that is high school, that would be absolutely devastating.Essentially, that is what Google is doing to location service provider Skyhook. And Skyhook is fighting back. In court.Skyhook provides its customers with a giant database of locations it has mapped to Wi-Fi signals and MAC addresses around the United States. Mobile phone manufacturers, among others, license Skyhook’s technology to augment GPS and tell phone users where they are.In its legal battle with Google to save Android contracts it signed with Motorola and Samsung, and Skyhook won the first courtroom battle with the search giant.“Being told you are going to lose your Android license is Google’s nuclear option,” Morgan said. “And Google uses its nuclear option often.”Judge Judith Fabricant of the Massachusetts Superior Court dismissed Google’s request for summary judgment of Skyhook’s complaint. That means the case will go into discovery, where both sides of the case have to share relevant documents with each other. It is something that Skyhook CEO Ted Morgan thinks Google did not want to go through.“All this, as I am learning, is a long game and we are only in the early innings,” Morgan told us. “From what we have seen, Google doesn’t want to go to discovery.”Google has not yet responded to our request for comment. Update: Google has declined comment on the case.As we have seen with recent location tracking controversies around Apple and Google, knowing where people are and what they are doing is big money. With the meteoric rise of Android, Skyhook is feeling that it is being wrongfully shut out of an explosive market sector that it thought it had firm grapple on.What Skyhook is upset about is that it says it was led to believe by Google that Android would be an “open” platform. Morgan said that Google had initially said that Android contained no location resources and hence Skyhook felt free to go ahead and negotiate contracts with original equipment manufacturers like Motorola and Samsung. Skyhook spent $1.5 million wooing Motorola and thought it had a foot in on the ground floor of Android in 2009.Stop shipLiterally, that is what the the court documents say, say, at least according to the complaint filed by Skyhook. Google’s head of Android, Andy Rubin, reportedly sent a message to Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha telling him to stop ship of Android devices loaded with Skyhook location software. Morgan said that is exactly the same thing Google did between Skyhook and Samsung.Skyhook is accusing Google of threatening to take away the Android licenses of Motorola and Samsung if did not launch with Google Location Services.“We looked at these deals that we wanted and we thought they were all pretty big,” Morgan said. “We thought we were on an IPO track after seven years in business and this happens.”Skyhook. Meet carpet. Yeah, the one that Google just pulled out from under you.“Being told you are going to lose your Android license is Google’s nuclear option,” Morgan said. “And Google uses its nuclear option often.”Then we come back to the notion of “open.” Skyhook would not be upset with Google if they had been upfront with their intentions for Android in the first place. Apple and Microsoft were straightforward with Skyhook in saying that they were going to use their own location services (for better or worse) and Skyhook, though probably disappointed, was OK with that.“It is all a cover story to be able to control the location [on Android devices,]” Morgan said. “We would be fine with it if that is the way it started but it wasn’t and we feel that might be illegal.”The next phase of the process will take about another six months as lawyers go through the discovery process. Skyhook’s attorneys will be looking to prove that Google is stifling innovation and forced Android OEMs to break contracts with Skyhook because the search company wanted to control the location data. There is a side case to all of this where Skyhook is suing Google over four location-based patents.To a certain extent, Google’s notion of “open” is on trial. Skyhook’s battle is the height of legal and economic intrigue mixed with world’s current technology ecosystem. Will the final result be a change in the way Google operates Android? center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Rufus the hawk rules the Wimbledon skies

first_imgMale tennis players from the United States are almost as rare as hen’s teeth at Wimbledon this year, but a hawk native to North and South America definitely rules the roost when it comes to clearing the championship courts of pigeons.Every morning at dawn, a Harris hawk named Rufus, with his distinctive yellow-hued beak, patrols the skies over the tennis complex in southwest London.The hawk’s job is to scare the living daylights out of the pigeons who not so many years ago occasionally interrupted play as they strolled around the courts, searching for food and doing what pigeons do.For Rufus, pigeons are food, though the bird’s handlers and trainers, Wayne Davis, his wife Donna and their daughter Imogen, do their best to keep Rufus’s appetite balanced so the hawk will scare the pigeons but not eat them.That is part of the art of falconry as it has been practiced for more than 2,000 years, said Wayne Davis, although he cannot guarantee that Rufus will not occasionally go for the kill.”Thousands of years of evolution have dictated that’s what he should do,” Davis said, speaking over the phone from the family home in Northamptonshire, about what could happen if Rufus spots a pigeon and is feeling a big peckish.”We haven’t evolved a hawk to catch things for our own purposes – we’re just utilising its natural abilities,” he said.Rufus has become something of an avian star at Wimbledon, his picture taken by countless photographers and television crews. He even has his own Twitter account @RufusTheHawk.advertisementAs a family that makes its living from falconry, the Davises are delighted that one of this year’s big literary hit books is “H Is for Hawk”, British writer Helen Macdonald’s tale of how she trained a goshawk as a form of therapy to help her deal with the death of her father.”It’s absolutely fantastic,” Donna Davis said of Macdonald’s book this week as she and Imogen loaded Rufus into the car after his morning patrol.”I just thought she really captured the sense of training a goshawk, it is so difficult.”Having started bird training, with kestrels, at the age of 10, Davis does not recommend falconry to anyone who thinks it would be nice to have a hawk along with the family dog or cat.He particularly sympathises with Macdonald, whom he met at a falconry conference in Dubai last year, for her travails.”Goshawks are notoriously…finely-tuned. Anything would scare them, they’re very on edge, they’re very difficult to train,” Davis said.Rufus is “very placid in comparison to a goshawk”, Davis said, although the pigeons might not agree.last_img read more

10 months agoArsenal next? Keylor Navas drops big Real Madrid exit hint

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Arsenal next? Keylor Navas drops big Real Madrid exit hintby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveKeylor Navas has dropped a big hint he is leaving Real Madrid this month – with Arsenal tipped to be his next destination.Navas has not been happy playing second fiddle to Thibaut Courtois this season at Real Madrid.And on his instagram page the keeper has posted a picture of him shaking hands with Real Madrid fans with the caption ‘thanks for everything’.Now Sport says he’s on the way to Arsenal in a £14m deal.The ‘goodbye’ picture was taken as 8,000 fans came out to watch the squad train at Valdebebas – with many believing it’s his farewell picture. last_img

9 months agoSolbakken: Solskjaer surely winning his Man Utd audition

first_imgSolbakken: Solskjaer surely winning his Man Utd auditionby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Wolves boss Stale Solbakken believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer deserves the Manchester United job after victory at Tottenham. Solskjaer outshone Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino last night as they both compete for the permanent Old Trafford post.FC Copenhagen coach Solbakken said, “It’s not that I don’t think Pochettino can handle both clubs, but there is actually a difference between the demands made by United and Tottenham.”I think Solskjaer can actually get the job. If United shows stability and great progress, playing steady battles against the best and beating some of them at home, then I think it’s a strong application. They may have a plan ready and have him as a B or C choice. Or they have no plan yet, see how it goes and give him the chance to show that he is the right man.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more