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  • CS Colloquium: Emilio Ferrara (USC) - AI & Social Manipulation

    Wed, Mar 29, 2023 @ 04:00 PM - 05:00 PM

    Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars

    Speaker: Emilio Ferrara, USC Annenberg / CS

    Talk Title: AI & Social Manipulation

    Series: CS Colloquium

    Abstract: In this talk, I will overview my decadelong journey into understanding the implications of online platform manipulation. I'll start from detecting malicious bots and other forms of manipulation including troll accounts, coordinated campaigns, and disinformation operations. The impact of my work will be corroborated with examples of findings enabled by our technology, e.g., our unveiling of the "Russian bots" operation prior to the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, which informed official Senate investigations and new regulations. I will then illustrate similar issues with the 2020 U.S. Election, as well as COVID-related conspiracies and public health misinformation. I'll conclude by discussing the ML tools we developed to model online mis/disinformation, reveal the malicious adversaries behind the curtains, and characterize their activity, behavior, and strategies, suggesting how they are changing the way researchers and study online platforms in the era of automation and artificial intelligence.

    This lecture satisfies requirements for CSCI 591: Research Colloquium

    Biography: Emilio Ferrara is a professor of communication and computer science at USC Annenberg and at the USC Viterbi Department of Computer Science, professor (by courtesy) of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School, and co-director of the Machine Intelligence and Data Science (MINDS) group at USC ISI. His research focus has been at the intersection between developing theory and methods in network science, machine learning and NLP, and applying them to study socio-technical systems and networks. He is concerned with understanding the implications of AI and networks on human behavior, and their effects on society at large. Ferrara has published 230+ articles that have appeared on venues like the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, Communications of the ACM, Physical Review Letters, and the top ACM, IEEE and AAAI conferences and journals. As a PI at USC, he has received $20M+ in research funding from DARPA, IARPA, NSF, NIH, AFOSR and ONR. Ferrara received accolades including the 2016 DARPA Young Faculty Award and DARPA Director's Fellowship, the 2016 Complex Systems Society Junior Scientific Award, the 2019 USC Viterbi Research Award and the 2022 Research.com Rising Stars award. Until He also served as associate director of the USC Data Science programs.

    Host: CS Department

    Location: Ronald Tutor Hall of Engineering (RTH) - 526

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Contact: Assistant to CS chair


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