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Dubawa launches AI tools to check misinformation

One of the Dubawa tools does instant fact-checks on WhatsApp.

Nigerians can now verify information on WhatsApp in seconds by simply texting the Dubawa Chatbot to ask whatever questions they may have.

The Chatbot, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool developed by Dubawa, a project of the centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) went live on Monday when it launched in Abuja alongside the Dubawa Audio platform.

The launch was part of the Journalism, Digital Tech and AI dialogue organised by the CJID which drew speakers and participants from all over the country.

Dubawa Chatbot

Monsur Hussain, the head of Innovation at the CJID, said the Dubawa Chatbot is developed to give accurate and timely responses to claims or questions.

Dapo Olorunyomi, CEO of CJID/Publisher of Premium Times
Dapo Olorunyomi, CEO of CJID/Publisher of Premium Times

He said the tool has access to real-time internet data, unlike other AI tools like the ChatGPT and MetaAI, both of which “do not have access to real-time internet data.”

To prove his point, Mr Hussain provided a prompt entered on Thursday in which he asked both the Dubawa AI and MetaAI if Sanusi Lamido had been reinstated as the Emir of Kano. The Dubawa AI answered in the affirmative even though Mr Lamido’s reinstatement was only hours before the prompt. The MetaAI goofed, saying Mr Sanusi was removed in 2020 and has not been reinstated.

Dubawa Audio

Mr Hussein also said the Dubawa Audio platform can monitor radio programmes, listen to them and extract verifiable claims from them.

He said a lot of claims made on the radio are usually undocumented due to the nature of the radio. This makes it difficult to track claims made on it for verification.

“Radio is a mass source of information in Africa. A lot of people listen to the radio daily. But then due to the transient nature of the radio, there’s really no way to keep track of everything that’s going on the radio,” he said

But the Dubawa Audio platform can be programmed to monitor certain radio programmes, transcribe them and extract verifiable claims for fact-checkers.

Testing Chatbot

PREMIUM TIMES put Dubawa Chatbot to two tests.

In the first task, this newspaper asked the AI tool about itself. “Who is Dubawa Chatbot?,” our reporter texted the Dubawa Chatbot.

In seconds it spits out a brief response with ten web links as evidence to back its answer.

A cross-section of attendees at the event
A cross-section of attendees at the event

“The Dubawa Chatbot is an AI tool built to provide answers to everyday questions regarding viral misinformation and disinformation in the information ecosystem,” the chatbot wrote back, adding “It aims to reduce the spread of harmful and misleading content online by offering results and references from credible sources.”

The reporter also asked the AI tool if President Bola Tinubu reviewed the concession of airports.

“Yes,” it replied again in seconds. “Bola Tinubu’s government has started a review of the airport concession process to ensure transparency. The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, announced this during a press briefing to mark President Bola Tinubu’s one year in office. The review aims to ensure major airports operate at international standards, with a master plan being developed for this purpose.”

The AI tool also provided seven web links to back up its response, including this PREMIUM TIMES story about the review of concessions, published only hours before it was asked.

Citizens Gavel, Dataphyte, ChatVE display other AI tools

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive of Civil Society Organisation, Citizen Gavel, Nelson Olanipekun and the Director of Dataphyte, Femi Amele, also presented AI tools developed by their team.

Israel Tijani, a Data Scientist, also presented ChatVE another AI tool for verification.

Mr Olanipekun showcased the PodusAI, a tool fed with Nigerians’ laws and the ability to answer questions related to the laws. Mr Olanipekun also demonstrated how the PodusAI could draft a comprehensive Freedom of Information (FOI) letter or a petition in seconds by simply giving it a prompt.

Mr Amele demonstrated how the NubiaAI tool of Dataphyte can help journalists come up with a first draft of a story from available datasets.

Meanwhile, Mr Tijani showed how the ChatVE can be tagged on Facebook, Instagram and X to fact-check any post and reply in the comments.

CJID’s AI Dialogue

The Journalism, Digital Tech and AI Dialogue organised by the CJID was held at the Abuja Continental Hotel in Nigeria’s capital city.

The dialogue had speakers from the Media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), dissecting the AI, Deepfake and Disinformation landscape; the opportunities for Nigeria; the current state of AI and digital transformation in media and CSO practice in Nigeria as well as the ethics and safety concerns in the adoption of AI.

Delegates were drawn from the academia, the media and the CSO space.


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