Pakistani tech company develops AI journalist

This still image introducing the first artificial intelligent news writer was taken from a YouTube video. (base H via YouTube)
Updated 03 November 2017
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Pakistani tech company develops AI journalist

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani tech company has developed an artificially intelligent journalist, the first of its kind, which can produce a complete news item in just a few seconds.

Dante is currently producing 350-word closing reports for the Pakistan Stock Exchange, as well as six-month charts and graphs showing market trends.

“This news-writing bot produces 100 percent original content in just two to three seconds after accessing relevant data from newswires, local and international media outlets,” Anis Shiekh, founder of baseH — the company that created Dante — told Arab News.

“It’s not going to replace reporters and editors. Rather, it will help newsroom staff carry out their work smoothly and quickly.”

Dante can automatically develop and maintain its own archive, and can provide context and background to articles.

“With Dante’s help, media outlets can produce endless original content as it neither sleeps nor tires,” Shiekh said, adding that it can easily produce content in different formats such as online, radio, print and television.

Content generated by Dante was shared with senior Pakistani journalists and editors for feedback.

“It was amazing,” Khurram Shahzad told Arab News. “It was so perfect that it hardly required any editing or even proofreading.”

The working prototype can quickly adapt to new writing styles, editorial policies and preferences, so it can easily be deployed anywhere.

Shiekh said numerous brokerage firms and media houses in Pakistan have expressed their interest in buying Dante, but baseH has decided to provide services via subscription only.

Regarding the company’s future plans, he said it is concentrating on tailoring Dante to produce content on the 2018 World Cup, and to write 700-800-word articles on various subjects, including sports, education, health, entertainment and foreign affairs.

“Our subscribers will be able to get original articles instantly on their required subject by just entering a few keywords related to the topic,” said Shiekh.

His company has been working on Dante since 2009, at a cost so far of more than 6 million Pakistani rupees ($56,980).


Vietnam says controversial cybersecurity law aims to protect online rights

Updated 19 July 2018
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Vietnam says controversial cybersecurity law aims to protect online rights

HANOI: Vietnam’s new cybersecurity law is designed to protect online rights and create a “safe and healthy cyberspace,” the foreign ministry said on Thursday, although critics have warned it gives the Communist-ruled state more power to crack down on dissent.
Seventeen US lawmakers wrote to the chief executives of Facebook and Google on Wednesday, urging them to resist changes wrought by the new law that require foreign tech firms to store locally personal data on users in Vietnam and open offices there.
“As in any other country, the activities of foreign businesses and investors should comply with the laws of the host country,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang told Reuters in a comment on Wednesday’s letter.
“The ratification of the cybersecurity law is aimed at creating a safe and healthy cyberspace,” Hang said in a written statement in response to a request for comment.
That would protect the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and individuals online, and ensure national security as well as social order and safety, she added.
Despite sweeping economic reforms and growing openness to social change, Vietnam’s Communist Party tolerates little dissent.
Global technology firms have pushed back against the requirement to store user data locally, but have not taken the same tough stance on the parts of the law that bolster the government’s crackdown on online political activism.
In particular, the new law gives more direct control over online censorship to the Ministry of Public Security, which is tasked with crushing dissent.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hang did not directly address those accusations, as outlined in Wednesday’s letter from US lawmakers, but said freedom of speech was a right enshrined in Vietnamese law.
“The state of Vietnam always respects and facilitates the rights of its citizens to exercise freedom and democracy but is resolutely against the abuse of those rights to commit illegal activities,” Hang added.
Approved by Vietnamese legislators last month, the law takes effect on January 1 next year.