Updates from Our Open Source AI Hackathon

Last month, the Brown Institute hosted more than 100 journalists, computer and data scientists, and skilled product thinkers for a hackathon to explore the applications of AI for journalism and civic information. The event was co-designed with Hacks/Hackers. Its co-founder and Board President, Burt Herman, has written a great summary of the event.

More than 100 journalists, coders, and product designers spent a weekend together in New York earlier in April to participate in the first of a series of hackathons convened designed to push the limits of the technology for journalism.

To kick off the series, hackathon participants spent three days exploring how AI might enable new, personalized experiences for journalism audiences, how to train large language models to increase accuracy and trust, and how to design platforms that ensure a human is always kept in the loop.

Organized by Hacks/Hackers, together with Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia University, and with support from Hugging Face and Codingscape, the three-day event focused on experimenting and prototyping with open source AI to build tools for journalism and civic information.

Starting with a pitch session and mixer, hackathon participants collaborated for the rest of the weekend before giving demos of what they built.

Ultimately, the goal of the weekend hackathon was to give journalists and technologists a space to experiment with AI without any of the usual pressure to launch a fine-tuned product. Instead, hackathon participants were encouraged to push the boundaries of a new technology to find new ways for journalists to reach audiences.

Read his complete report in the Hacks/Hackers Newsletter.