Introducing the 2023 Reporting on AI Hall of Fame

April 5, 2024  • Rasika Gasti

With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) tools in the last few years, we have started talking about them more than ever before. And even though information about AI is everywhere, it can be hard to find a comprehensive and accurate description of these complex systems, especially for those who are learning about it for the first time. 

“Inclusive technological development hinges on our collective understanding of technology,” said Raquel Vazquez Llorente, Associate Director, Technology Threats and Opportunities, WITNESS. It is critical to incorporate diverse perspectives of the people most impacted by the technological transformation in the continued dialogue on design and deployment of AI both within the country and globally. Such large scale public conversations start with talking about this complex automated system in clear, simple and accessible terms. 

“Accessible descriptions expand the universe of people who can contribute to and challenge these systems, instead of relying on hype and promises from a small handful of technical experts,” said Marissa Gerchick, Data Scientist and Algorithmic Justice Specialist, ACLU.

In an effort to celebrate great examples of accessible writing about AI and create a repository of model sentences for others to learn from, Aspen Digital put out a public call for submissions of the best artificial intelligence (AI) reporting from 2023. 

The prompt was to submit a short description – 100 words or fewer – from a non-fiction source, such as a news article, blog post, or research report, that clearly and accurately describes the use or creation of an AI tool. 

After carefully parsing hundreds of submissions – representing over 80 different publications ranging from student papers to international mainstream press – Aspen Digital selected 15 winners to be inducted into the 2023 Reporting on AI Hall of Fame. 

The winning authors include career tech reporters as well as journalists covering healthcare, education, and other traditionally non-tech beats and all have one thing in common: they are helping the public better understand AI technologies through writing. We’ve included a few of the winners below, but you can read all winning entries on the Aspen Digital site

Julie George writing for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 16, 2023

Many people already use AI regularly without realizing it—for example, individuals encounter AI through popular virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant, quick translations of language, major online platforms such as Amazon and YouTube with recommendation algorithms, and tagging objects or people in images.

Angela Spivey writing for Duke University School of Medicine, November 13, 2023

ChatGPT is what is known as a large language model, which can “train” itself on books and articles and “learn” the patterns and connections among words. When a user gives it prompts and asks it to create new content, ChatGPT instantly generates a written response. Researchers at Duke are using protein language models that work on a similar principle to predict interactions among proteins and interactions between proteins and potential drugs.

Jeremy Wagstaff writing for F&D Magazine, December, 2023

When Russian soldiers and pilots communicated without encrypting their conversations, Ukraine developed AI-based voice recognition and translation software to monitor these communications and extract actionable intelligence. And even when countermeasures are adopted, each side must be ready to rethink and enhance its technology as rapidly as the other. When Russia introduced electronic jamming to thwart Ukraine’s combat drones, for example, Kyiv’s cadre of programmers developed an AI tool to help its drones evade Russian jamming and stay locked on target.

Aaron Sankin and Surya Mattu writing for The Markup, October 2, 2023

For example, the city of Newark, New Jersey, used risk terrain modeling (RTM) to identify locations with the highest likelihood of aggravated assaults. Developed by Rutgers University researchers, RTM matches crime data with information about land use to identify trends that could be triggering crimes.

Wondering what made these excerpts so great? Find a comprehensive analysis here.