Omnipedia

Omnipedia
Media
Image
Logo of Omnipedia, a partially completed sphere composed of segments in different shades of blue.

Omnipedia logo.

Type

Online encyclopedia

Created by

Tony Hsiung

Country of origin

China

Status

Active

Launched

September 28th 2049

Omnipedia is an English-language online encyclopedia founded by internet entrepreneur Tony Hsiung in June 2049. Intended as “a general reference work and trusted source of information,” Hsiung initially conceived of Omnipedia as a successor to Wikipedia, which was discontinued in 2048. Although Omnipedia’s pilot programme was made possible through an investment by Zhupao Campus, its public version will be funded primarily through donations in a transparent process to avoid any appearance of advocacy.

Publicly launched on September 28th 2049, Omnipedia currently has 21,094 articles in different stages of development. It is edited by a select community of human and artificial intelligence (AI) contributors, with Hsiung as editor-in-chief. No announcements have been made regarding Omnipedia editions in other languages, but Hsuing has stated that these will be forthcoming after the English-language version is established.

History

Omnipedia was officially announced on June 18th 2049 by internet entrepreneur Tony Hsiung as part of a new round of investments from Zhupao Campus. In a livestream with Zhupao executive chair Xu Shaoyong, Hsiung explained Omnipedia’s name as a reference to “the encyclopedia of everything.” When asked whether it was intended as a replacement of Wikipedia, Hsiung described Omnipedia as “more of an unofficial successor, a reboot instead of a sequel” and said that it would “follow the spirit, if not the letter of Wikipedia, which was truly irreplaceable.” [1]

Image
Tony Hsiung and Xu Shaoyong speaking at a press conference to celebrate the public launch of Omnipedia.

Tony Hsiung (left) and Xu Shaoyong (right) speaking at a press conference for Omnipedia’s public launch on September 28th 2049.

Omnipedia went live on September 28th 2049, with Hsiung and Xu taking part in a press conference to celebrate its public launch. They described Omnipedia’s mission statement as “offering an easily accessible primary source of balanced, responsible, and accurate information about anything and everything.” Although it was initially hinted that some of Wikipedia’s content would be carried over to Omnipedia for its initial launch, Hsiung stated that this turned out to be infeasible due to the copyright issues that had led to Wikipedia ceasing operations on April 13th 2048. As a result, Omnipedia will feature fully original content. [2]

Following the assassination of Xu on September 30th 2049, Hsiung appeared on a personal stream to offer his condolences and announce that Omnipedia would serve as “an inclusive source of breaking news.” He also apologised for the readability and matching issues with Omnipedia’s revision histories, and promised to “greatly speed up the process of properly citing sources.”

Operation

Omnipedia articles are created in a formal two-step process. A first draft of each article is assembled by a set of proprietary differentiable neural computers (DNCs) based on a given topic. Following prescribed research and collation algorithms, the DNCs gather information from a wide variety of sources to ensure a multitude of opinions and viewpoints. They structure their findings in a “comprehensive and comprehensible” text with an eye for a “well-written narrative,” list up the accompanying citations, and add complementary visual material. According to Hsiung, the Omnipedia DNCs are based on the Pacotti architecture and designed to “convey the highest and most succinct tier of any pyramidal construct of knowledge.” [3]

Image
A portrait of Tony Hsiung smiling for the camera.

Omnipedia founder and editor-in-chief Tony Hsiung, pictured in 2049.

The second step involves a quality assurance review carried out by human editors, who are recognised experts in their respective subject fields. Using a Drupal-based editing system, the human editors polish and refine the articles to improve readability and make sure they adhere to a consistent house style. As editor-in-chief, Hsiung gives each article a final pass before publication.

At present, most internal Omnipedia hyperlinks are limited to hover-only previews of their pending articles. One of Omnipedia’s operating algorithms tracks which previews are opened more than others and assigns the corresponding topics a priority weighting value for development. [4]

Criticism

On September 30th 2049, Kate Hill, an AI researcher attached to UC Berkeley, published a blog post with a textual and stylometric analysis of Omnipedia, which revealed numerous matches with text strings from Wikipedia’s publicly archived content. In her post, Hill concluded that Omnipedia’s DNCs were extensively trained on Wikipedia text corpora, with analysis of the matching texts including Wikipedia edits that were made up until the moment the site was shut down in April 2048. [5]

See also

References

  1. Hongli, P. (June 2049). “Zhupao announces Omnipedia project as ‘successor’ to defunct Wikipedia.” South China Morning Post
  2. Hongli, P. (September 2049). “Xu Shaoyong officially cuts ribbon on Zhupao-backed Omnipedia.” South China Morning Post
  3. Pacotti, S. (July 2018). “Designing Intelligence.” Towards Data Science
  4. Leyba, R. (September 2049). “How Omnipedia is put together.” Wired
  5. Hill, K. (September 2049). “Omnipedia robbed Wikipedia before killing it.” Khillian