Creators Say Benefits of Fake News Detector Outweigh Risks of Release

A new AI tool called Grover might be the newest, most effective tool against computer-generated fake news, as long as it’s used by the right people. The researchers plan to release it to the public in the fight against propaganda.

According to a story on, the algorithm can both identify and create its own fake news so well that it is practically indistinguishable from human-written stories. This one-ups the GPT-2 algorithm created by OpenAI, but kept under wraps because of its powerful ability to write realistic news stories.

A group of collaborators from the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence published a white paper on Grover on, a scientific research site.

Grover, so named after the benign Sesame Street character, could take on a sinister role if it were unleashed on the world to write fake news. As the authors explained:

“We find that best current discriminators can classify neural fake news from real, human-written, news with 73% accuracy, assuming access to a moderate level of training data,” the researchers wrote in the paper. “Counterintuitively, the best defense against Grover turns out to be Grover itself, with 92% accuracy.”

A story on uses Grover to write the lead paragraph of the story (or lede, in journalistic parlance), which is very like what a human reporter would write, the story’s writer states. Or as the story states, the AI writes better “fake” news that humans do.

Image of “fake news” generated and detected by Grover.

One of the creators of Grover, Rowan Zellers, warns that Grover might be outshadowed in the future at a time when text generators are coming out almost monthly:

“Our work does suggest that there is an arms race between the adversary and the verifier,” said Rowan Zellers, a University of Washington Ph.D. student who co-authored the study. “It’s possible that there could be models even better than Grover out there that would evade our detection system.”

At a cost of $35,000 for set up, the researchers decided to unleash Grover on the world in hopes that reputable groups would make good use of it. The tool is accessible on Zellers’s blog.