Meta-researcher uses AI to close Wikipedia’s gender gap


Meta-researcher Angela Fan is using a new approach to get Wikipedia to include more biographies of women: she’s using AI to write the drafts.

Why is this important: Only about 20% of people featured on the online encyclopedia are women, and many other groups are underrepresented on the site.

How it works: Facebook’s parent company releases as open-source software an AI model it claims can automatically create high-quality biographical articles about important real-world public figures, based on information found on the website.

  • The company includes a dataset that was used to assess how well the model handled 1,527 biographies of women.
  • The template searches for information and writes a Wikipedia-style entry, including citations.

What they say : “There’s still work to be done, but we hope this new system will one day help Wikipedia editors create many thousands of accurate and compelling biography entries for important people who aren’t currently on the site,” he said. said Fan in a blog post.

Backtrack: Fan started her project as a computer science student at the University of Lorraine in Inria, France. She said she was inspired by seeing the underrepresented women in books as a child.

  • In elementary school, she was assigned to write an essay on a historical figure, with the requirement that the person have a book about her. She wanted to write about Eleanor Roosevelt but had to “settle for Teddy” because there was no book in her school library about Eleanor.
  • “If we imagined the same assignment today, students would definitely turn to the internet, most likely Wikipedia,” Fan said. “While Wikipedia contains millions of articles in English – including an excellent one on Eleanor Roosevelt – we know there are still many women whose stories and achievements do not reach future generations.”
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