$1M to be awarded to Canadian team that uses AI to stop spread of ‘fake news’
KITCHENER, ON. January 10, 2020 – Ten Canadian teams working to stop ‘fake news’ using artificial intelligence have been selected to compete for $1 million in a first-of-its-kind competition.
Communitech, in partnership with the Schulich Foundation and Leaders Fund, as well as the University of Waterloo, has unveiled the top 10 teams vying for the Leaders Prize, which was announced last June. Out of more than 150 team applicants, the teams that will move on to the second phase of the competition are:
- NL Philosophers
- Traveling Wilburys
The Leaders Prize awards $1 million to the Canadian team that can best use artificial intelligence (AI) to solve a global problem that is undermining democracies around the world: ‘fake news’ and the spread of misinformation.
“With the advancement of machine learning and natural language processing techniques, we have an opportunity to fact-check claims faster than ever before,” said Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech, the innovation hub in Waterloo Region. “The Leaders Prize is a great opportunity to showcase how Canada is leading the way in AI and can potentially solve this global problem in a meaningful way.”
In Phase 1 of the competition, teams from across Canada submitted solutions that automatically verified a series of claims, flagging whether they were true, partly true or false, in addition to providing evidence to support each of their determinations. In Phase 2, team solutions must now also provide evidence to support the truth rating and text explanation for each claim. The top prize will ultimately be awarded to the most effective and efficient AI-based fact-checking solution that exceeds 75% of the score achieved by a human baseline.
“The Leaders Prize aims to solve a major problem with broad applicability, recognize leading AI talent within Canada, and inspire the next generation to pursue a career in technology,” said David Stein, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Leaders Fund. “We are thrilled that over 150 high-performance teams entered this competition, with the top 10 teams moving to the final phase of the competition. We look forward to seeing the solutions these Canadian teams develop to make a meaningful dent in the war against democracy and fraud, fueled by fake news.”
“With information moving around the world faster and from more sources than ever before, technology that can help people determine what information is accurate is becoming increasingly important,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor at the University of Waterloo. “As displayed in the Leaders Prize, Canadian scholars and entrepreneurs continue to make significant contributions toward helping the world stop the spread of fake news.”
The team that verifies claims most accurately and provides the best supporting evidence will be revealed during the True North Festival on June 3, 2020 in Waterloo Region.
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For more information or media inquiries, please contact:
Manager, Public Relations, Communitech
Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was crazy talk, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1,400 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players.
Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways.
- Communitech is a place – the centre of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool tech and great companies.
- Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate.
- Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to help companies go from a small startup to a global giant.
About Schulich Foundation
Founded by leading businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich, The Schulich Foundation is one of Canada’s largest foundations. They have donated over $350 million, with a focus on scholarships, education, and health care centers. The Schulich Foundation is investing heavily to create the next generation of technology leaders.
About Leaders Fund
Leaders Fund is a leading venture capital firm investing in high growth enterprise software companies. Their $100 million, Fund I has made investments in Canada, USA, and Israel. They use their experience successfully building and exiting nine software companies to help entrepreneurs build world class enterprises.
About University of Waterloo
University of Waterloo is Canada’s top innovation university. With more than 40,000 students we are home to the world’s largest co-operative education system of its kind. Our unmatched entrepreneurial culture, combined with an intensive focus on research, powers one of the top innovation hubs in the world. Find out more at uwaterloo.ca