RSF and French general press alliance launch “Spinoza Project” to develop AI tool for journalists
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has teamed up with the General Information Press Alliance (the Alliance) to initiate the first step of its “Spinoza project” to develop an artificial intelligence tool by and for journalists that will safeguard the media’s intellectual property over what they publish
The “Spinoza Project” is the name of the initiative that RSF has launched in France in partnership with the Paris-based Alliance de la presse d’information générale (General Information Press Alliance). RSF also intends to develop it internationally.
The two organisations have just signed a memorandum of understanding to put AI at the service of reliable news reporting and trusted journalism, in particular by developing a tool to use print media data and content to train artificial intelligence learning models while respecting media intellectual property.
In its initial phase, the Spinoza Project will focus on working with the company Ekimetrics to produce the prototype of an artificial intelligence tool intended for use by journalists by the end of 2023. This prototype will process information related to climate change and will enable journalists to draw on databases consisting of scientific research papers, legal documents and press articles provided voluntarily by newspapers. The prototype will systematically cite its sources to help journalists find complex information quickly and accurately.
The way this AI tool will work is being designed with the help of journalists from France’s regional and national print media who are members of the Alliance. It will be tested by journalists from the nearly 300 media that are members of the Alliance and want to get involved in this project, so that this AI tool meets their needs.
“With the Spinoza project we want to give journalists the means to regain control over their production tools in a technological landscape that is increasingly hostile to reliable journalism. We want to help develop AI culture and technology in the journalism community and strengthen the media’s sovereignty over their means of production.”
“The Alliance and its members are involved in the Spinoza Project in order to affirm that generative AI must develop with the agreement and active participation of publishers and journalists. Their contribution, which guarantees professional work in the production of quality news and information, is essential in order to establish the foundations for trustworthy AI and the creation of truly valuable content.”
President of the Alliance de la presse d’information générale
The language model used will be open source, meaning that the code is publicly and freely accessible. The dynamism of this ecosystem combined with the desire of press publishers to participate in a collective generative AI project offers a unique opportunity for the media to be able to develop their own tools and impose their vision of a technology at the service of reliable news and information.
This project is a constructive response to the risks that generative AI poses to journalism and the public’s access to reliable information. Until now, large AI companies have been building and training their models on media data, often without worrying about intellectual property or without being transparent about how the models are trained or how they work. This project aims to serve as a reminder that what the media publish has its own value, which must be taken into account in the development of generative AI.