Social Media, Influence, and Democracy: Reconcilable Differences?

Did you know that about one in five US adults say they get their news primarily through social media? However, in addition to news, social media platforms have become incredibly efficient tools for spreading propaganda and disinformation credited with interference

Keeping it Real in an Information Deluge

Did you know our brains can only process about 120 Kb per second and can only do so serially? Yet every day we are deluged with 34GB of information.  We also spend close to 8 hours every day interacting with

Decision Pitfalls in a Big Data World

Data growth is a direct consequence of advances in technology ranging from the smartphone to the Internet of Things devices. Today, the “datasphere”, or the volume of data in the world – is estimated to be over 60 Zettabytes. We

Machine-Made Decisions: Consequences of Consistency

Automated algorithm-driven decision-making systems are increasingly replacing humans in areas as varied as HR hiring, loan applications, insurance brokerage and even routine medical diagnostics.  In some contexts, such as employment, decision making based on arbitrary criteria is legal, and in

The Hackable Home: Smart Devices, Dumb Security

From fitness trackers to connected cars, IoT (“Internet of Things”) devices have made our lives easier and more convenient. Despite their nifty features, many harbor poor design when it comes to security and privacy of the data they collect (and

Cleaning Up after Dirty Disinformation Tricks

“Falsehood flies…and the Truth comes limping after it,” wrote Jonathan Swift the Anglo-Irish writer and satirist in 1710. That was in the 18th century of course. Now in the 21st century, with the advent of the Internet, distribution platforms, and

Gaming the Players – QAnon

Have you ever wondered about the birth of bizarre conspiracy theories like QAnon on-line? And why, despite the farfetched fabric of these stories, so many people forsake their family and friends — the people they know — to join a

Paying for it in the Attention Economy

In early 1997 a UC Berkley based Theoretical Physicist wrote article in Wired Magazine, where he called “attention” the currency of the new economy. He foreshadowed its potential consequences: division, disparity of power, deepening inequality, disproportionate advantages for the most

(How) Can we dig ourselves out of a deepfake hole?

Guest: Andrew J. Grotto The term “Deepfake” was first coined by a Reddit user who  created a forum of the same name in  2017.  The forum was dedicated to the creation and use of deep learning software for digitally swapping

Can advances in technology help liberate us from the grip of disinformation?

The events of the last few years have underlined that we are awash in disinformation, AND that a large swath of society believes that disinformation to be reality.  But disinformation doesn’t just include easily refutable assertions, it also includes sophisticated