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Talk: Influencing Societies via Narrative Construction, 4/12

Dr. Anupam Joshi on misinformation, disinformation & LLMs

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab presents

Shaping Opinion and Influencing Societies through Narrative Construction

CSEE Professor and Acting CoEIT Dean

12–1pm, Friday, April 12, 2024 via WebEx

There has been a significant body of work that explores “misinformation” or “disinformation” in the media. Research has explored how to identify misinformation, and how it spreads or goes viral. When detected, individual pieces of misinformation can be debunked. However, there is evidence that state actors (and others) are starting to launch more sophisticated information operations that try to craft a narrative that will shape public opinion. This involves combining factual information/hard news with opinions and potentially small elements of disinformation to persuade people, particularly in open societies typically found in democracies. While such influence building operations have been a tradition in statecraft, the ability to spread information fast provided by social media, and the removal of gatekeepers from the more traditional media sources, have provided a new potency to this approach. In this talk, we'll talk about disinformation, how easy it is to generate plausible “facts” in the era of Large Language Models, and narrative constructions. We'll also describe our recent work (with PhD student Priyanka Ranade) in creating computational approaches that might detect when a narrative is being constructed.

Anupam Joshi is the Oros Family Professor and Acting Dean of the College of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).  He also serves as the Director of UMBC’s Center for Cybersecurity.  He was previously the Chair of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department, and is an Adjunct Professor at IIT Delhi's School of IT.  He is a Fellow of IEEE and of the InCSCoE. He has published over 300 technical papers with an h-index of 91 and over 32,000 citations (per Google scholar), been granted nine patents, and has obtained research support over $22M from National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), US Dept of Defense (DoD), NIST, IBM, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin amongst others.

Dr. Joshi obtained a B.Tech degree from IIT Delhi in 1989, and a Masters and Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1991 and 1993 respectively. His research interests are at the intersection of AI and Systems. He did some of the earliest work in data management and security for mobile and ad-hoc networks using AI approaches. Over the last decade, he has been exploring this intersection to improve Cybersecurity—using Distributed AI approaches for attack detection and resilience in CPS/IoT systems, and policy driven approaches to security and privacy. This work has led not just to papers but technology transfer to small Maryland companies. 

Host: Alan T. Sherman, sherman@umbc.edu. Support for this event was provided in part by the NSF under SFS grant DGE-1753681.


Posted: April 7, 2024, 3:18 PM