The Greatest Podcast Ever Recorded

by Brian Caulfield

Is this the best podcast ever recorded? Let’s just say you don’t need a GPU to know that’s a stretch. But it’s pretty great if you’re a fan of tall tales.

And better still if you’re not a fan of stretching the truth at all.

That’s because detecting hyperbole may one day get more manageable, thanks to researchers at the University of Copenhagen working in the growing field of exaggeration detection.

Dustin Wright and Isabelle Augenstein have used NVIDIA GPUs to train an “exaggeration detection system” to identify overenthusiastic claims in health science reporting.

Their work comes as the pandemic has fueled demand for understandable, accurate information. And social media has made health misinformation more widespread.

Their paper leverages “few-shot learning,” a technique that lets developers wring more intelligence out of less data, and a new version of a technique called pattern exploiting training.

Research like Wright and Augenstein’s could one day speed more precise health sciences news to more people.

AI Podcast host Noah Kravitz — whose fishing stories we will never trust again after this episode — spoke with Wright about the work.

Key Points From This Episode

  • Approximately 33% of press releases about scientific papers tend to exaggerate the findings in the papers, which leads to news articles exaggerating the findings of these papers.
  • Wright’s exaggeration detection project aims to provide people like journalists with accurate information to ensure that they report accurately on science.
  • The project, accelerated using a NVIDIA Titan X GPU, uses a novel, multitask-capable version of a technique called Pattern Exploiting Training, which they dubbed MT-PET


“Can we leverage language and related that learn patterns that the language model has picked up on from mass language model pre training, and be able to do classification with any text?” – Dustin Wright [7:28]

“About 33% of the time, press releases will exaggerate the scientific papers and as a result, that means about 33% of news articles exaggerate the findings in scientists’ papers.” – Dustin Wright [9:50]

“This is progress towards a system that could assist, for example, journalists, and ensuring that they’re doing accurate reporting on science.” – Dustin Wright [16:20]

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