As a result of the collaboration between European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and EIT Alumni a Hackathon contest for the Design of an Artificial Intelligence solution to detect fake news using EFSA’s body of scientific opinions was organised!
The overall objective of this hackathon contest was to enhance some of the EFSA key values, such as openness and innovation in order to enable stakeholders to understand the basis of EFSA’s scientific work in an innovative manner and engage a wider community around it.
The specific objective of the hackathon was to come up with a prototype of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) solution to detect fake news in the area of Food and Feed Safety, leveraging the whole EFSA’s body of Scientific Opinions, from its foundation to present days.
On 20 February 2021, the opening session of the on-line hackathon took place with Jeroen van Lent, President of the EIT Digital Alumni Foundation as well as Vice President of EIT Alumni, Barbara Gallani, Head of EFSA’s Communication, Engagement, and Cooperation Department and Jan Grotenbreg, developing and managing the DeepHack open innovation programme at EIT Digital.
The participants had a full weekend on 20 and 21 February of hacking and creating their solution. Teams were tasked to analyse shared statements such as ‘Excess salt is your deadly enemy’ or ‘One cup of coffee can improve your focus’ and provide a credibility score based on proposed solution. Once the weekend was over the jury took over and started the evaluation of all submitted solutions.
In his opening speech, Bernhard Url explained the reasons for the organisation of the hackathon.
We need to build a community around methods to detect fake news. This is not only to secure scientific information is not superseded by a swamp of fake stories. The danger of disinformation goes much further: it undermines trust in the democratic institutions and it is an assault on the open society. - Bernhard Url, EFSA Executive Director
The role of the hackathon was to leverage the best brains in the European Union and to ignite interest to the topic of fake news together with proposing remedies for this phenomenon.
Martin Kern, presented the role of innovation as such in tackling societal challenges as well as the role of collaboration between EU agencies, including the engagement of the EIT Alumni.
Innovation happens if you work together. If you go outside the boundaries, outside your comfort zone, if we work with people you normally would not work with and if you try new ideas. - Martin Kern, EIT Director
The importance of artificial intelligence technology in driving innovations was outlined in the context of growing numbers of EIT projects in this field and across different sectors.
Top 5 solutions
- 1st prize EUR 7 000 for Asclepium Oracle team of 10 members from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona for its encompassing solution, covering aspects related to science, journalism and technology.
- 2nd prize EUR 6 000 for Food Busters team with Zacharoula Theodorakopoulou, Timotheos Lanitis, Simona Mladenova and Mihalis Papakonstantinou for having properly complemented EFSA data sources with additional ones, and for its very attractive user interface.
- 3rd prize EUR 5 000 for Dane Mitrev and Luca Coviello, EIT Digital Alumni for having properly integrated different techniques such as Named Entity Recognition, Claim Decomposition and Fact Verification Model.
- 4th prize EUR 3 500 for Marvin Mouroum, Lauri Laatu, Mayank Yadav and Jonathan Smyth from EIT Digital Alumni for an attention based continuous Deep Learning solution and its focus on Explainability of results produced by AI.
- 5th prize EUR 3 500 for Honest Food team with Alettea Tordai from EIT Digital Alumni and Dim Hoogeveen for adopting document similarity ranking to nicely present and understand the results.