Aug 31, 2017

AI is learning how to write online restaurant reviews

Richard Vogel / AP

Researchers at the University of Chicago taught AI to write realistic restaurant reviews using Yelp reviews as an example. The reviews aren't written perfectly, but it's tough to spot the difference between real and AI-generated reviews.

Why it matters: People take reviews seriously — the researchers cited studies that found a one-star increase on Yelp can boost restaurant revenue by 5 to 9%. AI-generated reviews, if negative or revealed to be fake, could be a blow to review-oriented websites like Yelp and Amazon, and the products and services that rely on them.

What to watch for: Perfection may not be that far off: researchers can use advanced software to create better neural networks, making results even more believable. This would make it easier for AI to mass produce fake reviews or maybe even fake news.

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58 mins ago - Technology

Trump and Zuckerberg share phone call amid social media furor

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

In the week that President Trump took on social media, Axios has learned that he had a call Friday with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that was described by both sides as productive.

Why it matters: With the White House and Twitter at war, Facebook has managed to keep diplomatic relations with the world's most powerful social-media devotee.

Twitter, Google lead chorus of brands backing George Floyd protests

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Twitter and Google are among the dozens of brands over the past 24 hours that have taken public stances in favor of Americans protesting racial equality. Some companies have changed their logos in solidarity with the movement, while others have pledged money in support of efforts to address social injustice.

Why it matters: The pressure that companies feel to speak out on issues has increased during the Trump era, as businesses have sought to fill a trust void left by the government. Now, some of the biggest companies are quickly taking a public stand on the protests, pressuring all other brands to do the same.

NYPD commissioner: "I'm extremely proud" of officers' response to protests

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea in February. Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a public statement Sunday that he is "extremely proud" of the New York City Police Department's response to protests over the death of George Floyd Saturday night, writing: "What we saw in New York City last night and the night before was not about peaceful protest of any kind."

Why it matters: New York City residents captured several instances of police officers using excessive force against demonstrators. In one video, two NYPD SUVs are seen ramming into protesters who were blocking a road and throwing traffic cones at the vehicles.