Summary of “Machine learning is helping computers spot arguments online before they happen”

Well, we have some good news: scientists are looking into it, and with a little help from machine learning, they could help us stop arguments online before they even happen.
The work comes from researchers at Cornell University, Google Jigsaw, and Wikimedia, who teamed up to create software that scans a conversation for verbal ticks and predicts whether it will end acrimoniously or amiably.
For the scientists, the work shows that we’re on the right path to creating machines that can intervene in online arguments.
“Humans have nagging suspicions when conversations will eventually go bad, and this [research] shows that it’s feasible for us to make computers aware of those suspicions, too,” Justine Zhang, a PhD student at Cornell University who worked on the project, tells The Verge.
Research like this is particularly interesting, as it’s part of an emerging body of work that uses machine learning to analyze online discussions.
In the case of this specific research, you can imagine it being used to intervene in online discussions, giving users a nudge when things look like they’re about to get heated.
Beyond the wider problems of AI moderation, what if a bot like this was adapted to weed out political dissent? Or what if stopping humans from having arguments online is actually a bad thing? No one is claiming that the internet is a model of productive debate, but when a conversation goes wrong, it’s at least an opportunity to find out how not to do things.
Above all, says Zhang, the work showed how unpredictable and dynamic human conversation can be.

The orginal article.