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  • CS Colloquium: Luca Luceri (ISI/USC) - AI-Driven Approaches for Countering Influence Campaigns in Socio-Technical Systems

    Thu, Oct 26, 2023 @ 04:00 PM - 05:00 PM

    Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars

    Speaker: Luca Luceri, ISI / USC

    Talk Title: AI-Driven Approaches for Countering Influence Campaigns in Socio-Technical Systems

    Abstract: The proliferation of online platforms and social media has sparked a surge in information operations designed to manipulate public opinion on a massive scale, posing significant harm at both the individual and societal levels. In this talk, I will outline a research agenda focused on identifying, investigating, and mitigating orchestrated influence campaigns and deceptive activities within socio-technical systems. I will start by detailing my research efforts in designing AI-based approaches for detecting state-backed troll accounts on social media. Modeling human decision-making as a Markov Decision Process and using an Inverse Reinforcement Learning framework, I will illustrate how we can extract the incentives that social media users respond to and differentiate genuine users from state-sponsored operators. Next, I will delve into a set of innovative approaches I developed to uncover signals of inauthentic, coordinated behaviors. By combining embedding techniques to unveil unexpected similarities in the activity patterns of social media users, along with graph decomposition methods, I will show how we can reveal network structures that pinpoint coordinated groups orchestrating information operations. Through these approaches, I will provide actionable insights to inform regulators in shaping strategies to tame harm, discussing challenges and opportunities to improve the resilience of the information ecosystem, including the potential for interdisciplinary collaborations to address these complex issues.

    This lecture satisfies requirements for CSCI 591: Research Colloquium

    Biography: Luca Luceri is a Research Scientist at the Information Sciences Institute (ISI) at the University of Southern California (USC). His research incorporates machine learning, data and network science, with a primary focus on detecting and mitigating online harms in socio-technical systems. He investigates deceptive and malicious behaviors on social media, with a particular emphasis on problems such as social media manipulation, (mis-)information campaigns, and Internet-mediated radicalization processes. His research advances AI/ML/NLP for social good, computational social science, and human-machine interaction. In his role as a Research Scientist at ISI, Luca Luceri serves as a co-PI of the DARPA-funded program INCAS, aiming to develop techniques to detect, characterize, and track geopolitical influence campaigns. Additionally, he is the PI of a Swiss NSF-sponsored project called CARISMA, which develops network models to simulate the effects of moderation policies to combat online harms.

    Host: CS Department

    Location: Olin Hall of Engineering (OHE) - 136

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Contact: CS Faculty Affairs

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