Introducing Dissect: An AI-empowered fact-checking tool developed by Appendix (Watchdog Sri Lanka)

Posted on November 30, 2023  /  1 Comments

LIRNEasia recently unveiled “Dissect” – a cutting-edge web tool employing advanced artificial intelligence (AI) tailored for effective fact-checking. What sets this tool apart is its compatibility with Sinhala websites, and its accessibility to anyone from anywhere in the world, making fact-checking accessible to a wider audience. Developed by Appendix Pvt. Ltd. under Watchdog Sri Lanka, the web tool is currently being tested for effectiveness by LIRNEasia.

It was beta-launched at a recent workshop hosted by LIRNEasia in Colombo, by introducing it to a select group of Sri Lankan journalists and fact-checkers.

Leading journalists from media agencies, including Daily Mirror, Mawbima, and Sunday Morning, along with fact-checkers from (Verite Research) and Citizen Fact Check, attended the workshop. Their feedback will guide the LIRNEasia team in refining and enhancing the web tool for optimal performance.


What is Dissect?

Dissect, currently in development, promises to be a game-changer for both journalists and the general public. By simply inserting a web link into the application’s search bar, users can access an overview of the content, its origin, and the level of factual accuracy. This innovative tool is aimed to empower users in navigating the digital landscape with confidence.

The team behind Dissect includes Full-stack engineer Ishan Marikar and former senior researcher and 2023 Gratiaen Prize winner Yudhanjaya Wijerathne from Watchdog, Sri Lanka. Testing and evaluating the usability and scalability of the tool is undertaken by LIRNEasia team members including Research Manager Isuru Samaratunga and Junior Researcher Nipuni Habaragamuwa.

After extensive research and experimentation, the team has built the app which can read a piece of English text, break it down into claims, assumptions, sources and mentioned entities, and present those. The developments are being done to the tool to make it compatible with Tamil and Bengali languages as well. As Dissect does not attempt to classify true or false, it does not need continuously updated data; rather, it performs a layer of routine operations on behalf of the journalist or fact-checker, essentially acting as a first-in-line critical reader.

Following the testing phase, once the enhancements and adjustments are completed, LIRNEasia intends to launch the web tool to the public mid next year.

This transformative project is being supported through a grant from The Asia Foundation.

1 Comment

  1. This is a commendable move.