AI displays bias and inflexibility in civility detection, study finds

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According to a 2019 Pew Center survey, the majority of respondents believe the tone and nature of political debate in the U.S. have become more negative and less respectful. This observation has motivated scientists to study the civility or lack thereof in political discourse, particularly on broadcast television. Given their ability to parse language at scale, one might assume that AI and machine learning systems might be able to aid in these efforts. But researchers at the University of Pennsylvania find that at least one tool, Jigsaw’s Perspective API, clearly isn’t up to the task.

Incivility is more subtle and nuanced than toxicity, for example, which includes identity slurs, profanity, and threats of violence. While incivility detection