Discord buys Sentropy to fight against hate and abuse online
Discord, a popular chat app, has acquired the software company Sentropy to bolster its efforts to combat online abuse and harassment. Sentropy, monitors online networks for abuse and harassment, then offers users a way to block problematic people and filter out messages they don’t want to see.
First launched in 2015 and currently boasting 150 million monthly active users, Discord plans to integrate Sentropy’s own products into its existing toolkit and the company will also bring the smaller company’s leadership group aboard. Discord currently uses a “multilevel” approach to moderation, and a Trust and Safety (T&S) team dedicated to protecting users and shaping content moderation policies comprised 15% of Discord’s workforce as of May 2020.
“T&S tech and processes should not be used as a competitive advantage,” Sentropy CEO John Redgrave said in a blog post on the announcement. “We all deserve digital and physical safety, and moderators deserve better tooling to help them do one of the hardest jobs online more effectively and with fewer harmful impacts.”
Cleanse platforms of online harassment and abuse
Redgrave elaborated on the company’s natural connection with Discord: “Discord represents the next generation of social companies — a generation where users are not the product to be sold, but the engine of connectivity, creativity, and growth. In this model, user privacy and user safety are essential product features, not an afterthought. The success of this model depends upon building next-generation Trust and Safety into every product. We don’t take this responsibility lightly and are humbled to work at the scale of Discord and with Discord’s resources to increase the depth of our impact.”
Sentropy launched out of stealth last summer with an AI system designed to detect, track and cleanse platforms of online harassment and abuse. The company emerged then with $13 million in funding from notable backers including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and his VC firm Initialized Capital, King River Capital, Horizons Ventures and Playground Global.
“We are excited to help Discord decide how we can most effectively share with the rest of the Internet the best practices, technology, and tools that we’ve developed to protect our own communities,” Redgrave said.
IBM Release CodeFlare, a New Hybrid Cloud AI/ML Framework
IBM Research has unveiled CodeFlare, a new framework for integrating and scaling big data and AI workflows in a hybrid cloud environment. The open-source framework aims to help developers cut back the time they spend creating pipelines to train and optimise machine learning models.
CodeFlare is built on top of Ray, an emerging open-source distributed computing framework for machine learning applications. CodeFlare extends the capabilities of Ray by adding specific elements to make scaling workflows easier, according to IBM.
Researchers and developers have to train and optimise the model first to create a machine learning model today. CodeFlare simplifies this process using a Python-based interface for what’s called a pipeline—by making it simpler to integrate, parallelise and share data. The new framework aims to unify pipeline workflows across multiple platforms without requiring data scientists to learn a new workflow language.
A simpler way to integrate and scale full pipelines
CodeFlare pipelines run with ease on IBM’s new serverless platform IBM Cloud Code Engine, and Red Hat OpenShift, the company explained. It allows users to deploy it just about anywhere, extending the benefits of serverless to data scientists and AI researchers. It also makes it easier to integrate and bridge with other cloud-native ecosystems by providing adapters to event-triggers (such as the arrival of a new file), and load and partition data from a wide range of sources, such as cloud object storages, data lakes, and distributed filesystems.
CodeFlare "goes beyond isolated tasks to seamlessly integrate and scale end-to-end pipelines with a data-scientist-friendly interface--like Python--instead of using containers,'' said Priya Nagpurkar, director, hybrid cloud platform at IBM Research. "CodeFlare can provide a simpler way to integrate and scale full pipelines, while offering a unified runtime and programming interface."
The company has already seen CodeFlare in action and cutting time. For example, one user applied the framework to analyse and optimise approximately 100,000 pipelines for training machine learning models, CodeFlare cut the time it took to execute each pipeline from 4 hours to 15 minutes