Dutch Interactive Awards (2x) for BNR SMART Radio!

πŸ“… June 28, 2019 β€’ πŸ• 10:17 β€’ 🏷 Blog β€’ πŸ‘ 45

Yesterday BNR SMART Radio won two Dutch Interactive Awards (DIA 2019) Awards! We were nominated together with Elastique, the folks who designed the UX/interface of our BNR SMART Radio app which you can download here (or in your app stores, both Android/iOS)!

πŸ₯‡ Content

We won Gold in the category “Content”. Why, you may ask?

β€œFinally a reason to listen to Radio in general, and BNR in particular. Because advertising is absent and topics are tailored to the personal taste of the listener, who can search in a targeted way and express appreciation for a broadcast through a thumbsup, they reach new target audiences online.”

jury report (source: emerce)

πŸ₯ˆ Disruptor

Next to this, we also won the Silver DIA2019 Award in the category “Disruptor”!

“In a world where radio has never deviated from the linear model, the jury finds this very disruptive. SMART Radio provides a personal radio experience and possibly a new revenue model in the long term. The jury members find the potential of the underlying strategy even more impressive. What if BNR joins forces with FD Mediagroep and combines the work of both parties in this? The jury sees all kinds of opportunities to fit in new forms of advertising (or to omit them). The collaboration between the agency and the media company has resulted in something that has never been seen before.”

jury report (source: emerce)

Current standing

For who has trouble keeping track πŸ˜…, these are the awards we won with SMART Radio:

πŸ† Marconi Online Award
πŸ† AMMA Award (with SMART Journalism)
πŸ† DIA2019 Award, category: Content
πŸ₯ˆ DIA2019 Award, category: Disruptor

BNR SMART Radio wins the Marconi Online Award!

πŸ“… February 1, 2019 β€’ πŸ• 16:17 β€’ 🏷 Blog β€’ πŸ‘ 80

Really happy and proud of our amazing AI team for winning the (first) Marconi Online Award at the Gouden RadioRing Gala, for BNR SMART Radio!

SMART Radio is the first product that comes out of our FD Mediagroup AI team! SMART Radio is released in beta for iOS (anytime) and Android, give it a try by downloading it here: https://bnr.nl/smartradio.

Image: BNR

Read more about SMART Radio in our demo paper, presented at DIR 2018:

[bibtex file=citations.bib key=sappelli2018smartradio]


“Improving automated segmentation of radio shows with audio embeddings”

πŸ“… July 5, 2019 β€’ πŸ• 15:41 β€’ 🏷 Blog and Research β€’ πŸ‘ 26

Oberon Berlage recently successfully defended his MSc. thesis (title above!) for the Data Science Master at University of Amsterdam, and graduated with a whopping 9!

He’s the first academic offspring of our AI Team @ FD Mediagroep, and worked on BNR SMART Radio‘s segmenter. Oberon improved our text-based segmenter by adding audio embeddings, improving the F1 score with +32%!

His thesis is now online, check it out at: http://scriptiesonline.uba.uva.nl/document/673254

Featured in BNR’s “Artificial Intelligence Podcast” on AI in Media Part I: Tech

πŸ“… November 27, 2018 β€’ πŸ• 10:22 β€’ 🏷 Media β€’ πŸ‘ 15

In the latest AI Podcast, I am featured, talking with Li’ao Wang on our SMART Radio and SMART Journalism projects. Stream the episode below!

“Media is smart, but needs to get smarter. That’s what we’re working on here at the FD Mediagroep. Come and see what we do with AI to make our creators and content better.”

Stream on BNR

Stream on Spotify

Demo Paper: “SMART Radio: Personalized News Radio”

πŸ“… November 21, 2018 β€’ πŸ• 11:31 β€’ 🏷 Papers β€’ πŸ‘ 37

We’re demo’ing SMART Radio at The 17th Dutch-Belgian Information Retrieval workshop (DIR 2018). We wrote a short paper titled “SMART Radio: Personalized News Radio” to accompany the demo, read it by clicking below!

[bibtex file=citations.bib key=sappelli2018smartradio]

We won the AMMA Media-innovation award for our News Personalization projects at FD Mediagroep!

πŸ“… May 17, 2019 β€’ πŸ• 13:50 β€’ 🏷 Blog β€’ πŸ‘ 32

After winning the Marconi award for radio innovation, yesterday we picked up the AMMA Award for Media Innovation for our news personalization efforts at FD Mediagroep (both SMART Journalism for Het FD and SMART Radio for BNR Nieuwsradio)!

It’s really great to see that our current investment into AI and innovation seems to resonate with the outside world πŸ€–. And I am really happy to be with a company that sees this development as such an important direction that we are able to work with a big and talented team of data scientists, interns, engineers, and product folks πŸ€“

Press

πŸ“… September 22, 2017 β€’ πŸ• 13:14 β€’ 🏷 β€’ πŸ‘ 121

Below are a selection of press articles about me and/or my work. For a bit more context on some of the publications below, check out my posts in the media category.

Legend: 🌐 Online | πŸ“° Paper | πŸŽ™ Podcast | 🎦 Video

2019

  • 🌐 28 November | Media Perspectives: Algoritmewijsheid
    Column by me, on the future of AI and media. link
  • 🌐 4 June | European Science-Media Hub: A scientist’s opinion: Interview with David Graus about AI-tools for journalists
    Interview on how we apply AI in Journalism (SMART Journalism & SMART Radio). link
  • 🌐 4 June | European Science-Media Hub: AI could boost journalism with smart tools
    Piece on AI in Journalism, in the context of an upcoming workshop. link
  • 🌐 10 May | De Nationale AI Cursus: Geef niet het algoritme de schuld
    Interview in response to my op-ed in Het Parool. link
  • πŸ“° Mar 23 | Het Parool: Antivaccinatieboeken
    Published letter in Het Parool on whether bol.com’s selling of anti-vaxx books is an algorithmic issue (it’s not). link
  • πŸ“° 8 Mar | De Volkskrant: Nog even en de robotjournalist schrijft ook voor Nederlandse media
    Interview about robo journalism in Dutch, with a special mention of our SMART Journalism project. link

2018

  • πŸŽ™ 26 Nov | BNR: The Case of: AI in Media Part I – Tech
    Interview for BNR’s AI Podcast where I talk about SMART Journalism. link
  • πŸ“° 12 Oct | De VolkskrantMet deze eigen zoekmachine spit de politie schatten aan digitaal bewijs door
    Interview about the searchengine developed by the NFI, and its use in the high-profile Mocro maffia court cases, with my view on its role in the collection digital evidence. link
  • πŸ“° 9 Oct | IP – vakblad voor informatieprofessionals: Vensters op een nieuwe werkelijkheid. [image]
    Interviewed as a ‘young professional’ that show that traditional categories and thinking frames need to be readjusted, where I explain how my background and cross between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ science helps in my current work in AI and media.
  • 🌐 10 Oct | Villamedia: De journalist en de nerd
    Much needed and insightful nuance by Nick Kivits in an op-ed in response to our three-way interview on Villamedia (below). Nick advocates for IT folks and journalists to meet for coffee and collaborate, instead of having mutual suspicion or distrust. link
  • 🎦 6 Oct | RTL XL: How it’s done
    Television show about intelligence and business information. In this video me and Company.info’s CTO Henk Pijper discuss our work in AI and news. YouTube | blog
  • 🌐 5 Oct | VillamediaAlgoritmes: Moeten journalisten vrezen voor hun toekomst?
    Three-way interview with myself, Anne Schuth (De Persgroep), and Daan Odijk (RTL Nederland) about the rise of AI in media. link
  • πŸ“° 2 October | NRCWaar blijft de Nederlandse robotjournalist?
    Article on ‘robo-journalism’ (again), where I mention our SMART Journalism project. link
  • πŸ“° 10 July | Communications of the ACM (CACM): Dutch Police Fight Crime by Cracking PGP Phones
    Article about my work for Inez Weski on the Noffel case. link
  • 🌐 1 May | Stimuleringsfonds voor de JournalistiekWaar blijft de robotjournalistiek in Nederland?
    Article about ‘robo-journalism’, where I say something about the SMART Journalism project we are doing at FDMG, which involves personalization and summarization of newspaper articles. link
  • 🌐 18 Apr | Nemo Kennislink: Het sleepnet van Justitie
    Article about the research I did into the digital forensic methods of the NFI/Dutch Public Prosecutors in the high-profile “Noffel” case. link

2017

  • 🎦 12 Nov | Denktank: Baas over brein
    My debut on national TV ;-). Children’s TV show, on future topics, in this episode: how companies influence us online through persuasion/behavior analysis. [video | snippet (01:45min)]
  • πŸŽ™ 10 Nov | New Business Radio: Let’s talk business
    Podcast on doing data-driven sales and marketing with Company.info. [link | podcast]
  • πŸ“° 3 Jul | FD: Wanneer je gegevens geld waard zijn [link]
    Article on the value of personal data in which I’m asked a few questions on how user interactions are valuable to tech companies.
  • 🌐 17 Jun | NOSDavid onderzocht de sporen die wij onbewust online achterlaten [link]
    Article on my research/dissertation: Entities of Interest — Discovery in Digital Traces.
  • πŸ“° 15 Jun | FoliaDeze promovendus weet alles over jouw online voetafdruk [link]
    Article on my research/dissertation: Entities of Interest — Discovery in Digital Traces.

2016

  • πŸ“° 17 Jun | NRC: Wij zijn racisten, daarom Google ook [link]
    Op-ed on why it’s a good thing that algorithms aren’t neutral.
  • πŸ“° 10 Apr | Tekstblad: Waarheidsvinding in 11,5 miljoen documenten
    Article on my research: Discovery in Digital Traces.

2014

  • πŸ“° 17 Apr | Emerce: Nederlands algoritme reikt nieuwe Wikipedia onderwerpen aan [link]
    Article on our ECIR 2014 paper: Generating Pseudo-ground Truth for Predicting New Concepts in Social Streams.
  • 🌐 17 Apr | Business InsiderAlgoritme gebruikt Twitter om nieuwe Wikipedia-artikelen te voorspellen [link]
    Article on our ECIR 2014 paper: Generating Pseudo-ground Truth for Predicting New Concepts in Social Streams.
  • 🌐 17 Apr | UvANew method supplements Wikipedia with Twitter topics [link]
    Article on our ECIR 2014 paper: Generating Pseudo-ground Truth for Predicting New Concepts in Social Streams.
  • πŸ“° 16 Apr | DeMorgen.be: Nieuw algoritme vult Wikipedia aan op basis van tweets [link]
    Article on our ECIR 2014 paper: Generating Pseudo-ground Truth for Predicting New Concepts in Social Streams.
  • 🌐16 Apr | Tweakers.net: Nieuw algoritme vult Wikipedia aan op basis van Twitterberichten [link]
    Article on our ECIR 2014 paper: Generating Pseudo-ground Truth for Predicting New Concepts in Social Streams.

About

πŸ“… June 14, 2010 β€’ πŸ• 12:28 β€’ 🏷 β€’ πŸ‘ 2,118
foto: BeeldstudioKB

I am a data scientist with a PhD in information retrieval and natural language processing, and a background in the media. In my current lead data scientist role at FD Mediagroep I lead a team of four data scientists in bringing AI to media, through SMART Journalism (FD) and SMART Radio (BNR).

For SMART Journalism we leverage deep learning and natural language processing, and a custom-built real-time recommender system, to serve personalized summaries of FD’s journalism to our readers. For BNR SMART Radio we employ AI for automatically segmenting and tagging BNR’s radio content, to offer listeners a personalized, non-linear radio experience with radio snippets that match their interests. Both projects are partially funded by Google’s Digital News Innovation Fund.

I have a PhD degree from the University of Amsterdam (UvA), where I worked under supervision of prof. dr. Maarten de Rijke at the Information and Language Processing Systems Group (ILPS). My research project was focused on semantic search and computational methods for automated understanding of large-scale textual digital traces, in the context of e-discover and digital forensics.

I defended my thesis “Entities of Interest β€” Discovery in Digital Traces” in June 2017. In summer 2015 I did an internship at Microsoft Research in Redmond, under supervision of Paul Bennett, Ryen White, and Eric Horvitz. I worked on analyzing Microsoft’s Cortana user-interaction logs, which resulted in a best paper award at UMAP 2016, and the filing of a patent. In the winter of 2014 I visited prof dr. Doug Oard‘s E-Discovery Lab at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Algorithms aren’t evil

I am opinionated on matters involving filter bubbles, algorithmic discrimination, and the general fear (and misunderstanding) of AI and machine learning. In particular in the context of personalization, search engines, and recommender systems. I think it’s important that computer scientists are actively involved in this debate, and in that context I have written and spoken on these topics in mainstream media for the general publicβ€”which I try to continue to do. Some things I am particularly proud of:

  1. An article on why it’s a good thing algorithms aren’t neutral, written with Maarten de Rijke, published in NRC Handelsblad and nrc.next.
  2. An appearance on TV in “Denktank,” a program for youngsters, where I nuance the worries around algorithms and algorithmic personalization.
  3. A layman’s talk on how and where algorithms affect us in daily life for a debate night themed “The power of algorithms” at De Balie in Amsterdam.
  4. A keynote at the VOGIN-IP Lezing titled “The filter bubble doesn’t exist,” where I explain algorithmic personalization and summarize a few academic works that suggest the filter bubble is not an algorithmic problem.
  5. Consulting lawyer Inez Weski in making sense of the digital forensics process that played a role in a large-scale lawsuit involving the acquisition of a huge database of encrypted communication data (Ennetcom).

In general, if you ever need someone to bring some nuance to the fear of algorithms and personalization, I’d be happy to help. It seems to me there’s not many of us, in the current The-Circle-meets-Black-Mirror-day and age where the prevailing opinions seems to be that of fear and worries towards technology (it may be my bubble, however).

Science communication

I combined my background as a science editor (see below) with my work as a computer scientist during my PhD, by writing short articles about our group’s publications for the general public, in collaboration with the communications department of the University of Amsterdam. By translating papers into (near-)human language, we increased the exposure of our research group, and fulfilled our duty of informing the public of the work we do. I co-authored and published several articles, some of which gained (inter)national coverage on tech sites, newspapers and magazines. See for example:

  1. New method supplements Wikipedia with Twitter topics (also appeared on Tweakers.net, DeMorgen.be, Emerce, z24.nl)
  2. Improved predictions of queries by search engines
  3. New method helps Google Translate translate better (also appeared in NewScientist)

Background

I have a background in Humanities, and obtained my Media and Culture (media studies) Bachelor of Arts at the University of Amsterdam in 2008. After a brief period of work and travel, in 2009 I started my MSc Media Technology at the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Sciences, at Leiden Universiteit. In 2012, I graduated with a project involving semantic annotation and network visualization. I actively blogged about my MSc thesis, which played a substantial role in subsequently finding my PhD position at the University of Amsterdam.

Professional experience

I used to work in the media. I’ve worked for Dutch broadcasting company NTR (formerly Teleac, former-formerly Teleac/NOT) for several years as an editor for radio and online science programs. There I gained experience in a wide array of editorial tasks such as writing (news) items, preparing interviews, but also with several aspects of audiovisual media production, like (video) editing, animating, and the recording of our daily science program in the studio.

What else?

I further possess basic skills inΒ graphic- and web-design, having built several websites for several people, creating thesis covers for friends,Β andΒ logosΒ forΒ projects.Β I like hacking away at my car. I like photography, which you can witness on Instagram (@instagraus). I also like yoga and running. And like the rest of the world I like to travel, read books, watch films, play videogames, and listen to music.