Here’s a great initiative from Women in Games Corporate Ambassador Ubisoft, alongside Riot Games, which aims to make online game spaces safer.
The project, Zero Harm in Comms, will create a shared database of anonymised data, which will be used to train Ubisoft and Riot Games systems to detect and mitigate disruptive behaviour.
The idea was conceived between Yves Jacquier, Executive Director for Ubisoft’s La Forge R&D Department, and Wesley Kerr, Head of Tech Research at Riot Games, who are both interested in AI and deep learning, and the technical innovations within that space. While bonding over shared interests, and specifically shared challenges, it became clear that harmful content is a massive one, and both were unsatisfied with the solutions currently available.
Gathered from various chat logs in Ubisoft’s and Riot’s portfolio of games, the data – strings of text – are scrubbed clean of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and personal information. They are then labelled by behaviour – is this totally neutral, for example, or is it racism, or sexism? and used to train automated systems to better recognize and parse such harmful behaviour from the jump.
The key to the project lies within the sheer volume of data the duo is attempting to gather. With more data, these systems can theoretically gain an understanding of nuance and context beyond key words.
Jacquier and Kerr have been working on the Zero Harm in Comms project for roughly six months, and plan to share their learnings and potential next steps with the broader industry next year. Both agree that creating a safer online environment is crucial in an age where everyone is online, and both reiterate the hope that more publishers will come abroad to move beyond the keyword model that has proven insufficient for so long.
Women in Games CEO Marie-Claire Isaaman offered: “We very much welcome this new collaboration between Ubisoft and Riot Games to tackle toxicity in game chats. Bryter’s most recent research this year of some 1,500 women who play games revealed that 72 per cent of them have been affected by toxicity from male gamers. That is unacceptable, and one of Women in Games’ key objectives is to tackle this and to help create safe spaces for women, both online and in the workplace.”
You can read the full article about Zero Harm in Comms, and the interview with Yves Jacquier, Executive Director for Ubisoft’s La Forge R&D Department, and Wesley Kerr, Head of Tech Research at Riot Games, here.