Contest invites Penn Staters to write believable fake news with generative AI – Penn State University

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Starting April Fools’ Day, Penn State’s Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence (CSRAI) will host “Fake-a-thon,” a five-day competition to better understand the role of generative AI in the creation and detection of fake news. The event is open to all members of the University community with a valid Penn State email address.  

The Fake-a-thon will begin on Monday, April 1, and consist of two stages: 

  • Stage one will be held from April 1 to April 4. This stage challenges participants to use generative AI tools like Chat-GPT or Microsoft Copilot to create and submit fake news stories about any topic. Stories can be submitted through an online form

  • Stage two will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, April 5, in E202 Westgate Building. Participants who did not submit entries in stage one are invited to scrutinize entries — which will be mixed in with genuine news stories from event organizers — to determine if submitted stories are fake or real. 

First- ($500), second- ($300) and third-place ($200) prizes will be awarded to the fake stories that were most successful in fooling participants in the second stage into believing that they are real. In the second stage of the competition, four individuals who accurately identify the highest percentage of fake news stories will each receive $50. 

All participants will also be asked to participate in a post-event survey for an ongoing research project and may be asked for feedback or to use their news story for research purposes. 

Generative AI tools are being used to automate the creation of fake news stories and spread disinformation on everything from elections and current events to health care and entertainment. As these stories become easier to create and more authentic in their style, they become more difficult to differentiate from genuine news stories. Identifying how fake news is created and spread can help to mitigate its harm and support efforts for more ethical applications of AI.  

The Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence, which launched in 2020, promotes high-impact, transformative AI research and development, while encouraging the consideration of social and ethical implications in all such efforts. It supports a broad range of activities from foundational research to the application of AI to all areas of human endeavor.  

For questions about the event, visit the Fake-a-thon website or contact Amulya Yadav, CSRAI associate director (programs), at [email protected] or Xinyu Wang, a graduate student pursuing a doctorate in informatics, at [email protected]

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