Scientific knowledge forms a central part of public discourse on the web and in social media, e.g., in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, due to the inherent complexity of scientific statements, as well as the inherent mechanisms of AI-driven online platforms where controversial or false statements have been shown to generate more interactions and interest, scientific evidence is often presented in simplified, decontextualized, and misleading ways. Recent examples include statements about vaccine risks or COVID19 mortality, which have often been presented in truncated or misleading ways online.
AI4Sci addresses the challenge of developing hybrid Artificial Intelligence (AI) methods for detecting and interpreting scientific claims in big data from online discourses, and thus countering disinformation in the context of science communication. The project builds on advances in areas such as deep learning, natural language processing, and knowledge graphs, and will develop methods to detect, for example, the quality, correctness, or completeness of scientific claims in social media or on news sites by establishing and using relationships between claims and the primary scientific sources.
This creates tools for tracking scientific findings in online discourse and detecting misinformation to improve public discourse and understanding of complex scientific issues, thereby exerting a democracy-enhancing influence on online communication. AI4Sci’s hybrid methodology will also contribute to important challenges in AI, such as transparency and reproducibility of AI models. As part of an international collaboration between GESIS (Germany) and LIRMM / University of Montpellier (France) and with the involvement of regional institutions such as the Heine Center for Artifical Intelligence and Data Science (HeiCAD) at HHU Düsseldorf, a regional, internationally networked hub for AI methods for the use and analysis of online discourse will be established, thus strengthening Germany and France as AI locations.
AI4Sci is funded by the BMBF and the MESRI as part of the MESRI-BMBF German-French joint call for projects on Artificial Intelligence. The announcement of this call of October 1, 2020, promotes a deeper transfer of knowledge from science to industry and an improved development of innovative technologies in Germany, France and Europe, from which SMEs in particular benefit. The funding announcement is embedded in the national strategies for artificial intelligence of both countries. With the implementation of the announcement, the field of action “Strengthening research in Germany/France and Europe to be drivers of innovation” of the AI strategy is addressed in particular.