Expert panelists to discuss bots, lies, and the new information environment

The explosion of social media, blogs, and websites purporting to be news sources, along with a 24-hour news cycle and ubiquitous assess to the internet from cell phones and other devices, means a new information environment. That environment is radically different from the days when we depended on the New York Times and local newspapers for information, and it is rewriting the norms of social interaction, conversation, public discourse, and news reporting.

The South Big Data Innovation Hub will bring together four experts for a roundtable discussion that explores how bots and other new phenomena are shaping conversations and shifting public discourse. The impact of these technologies and social media platforms can build bridges among groups who might not otherwise connect and promote positive change. However, those same tools can be harnessed to spread misinformation or used by terrorist groups. The Brookings Institution, for example, estimates ISIS has more than 70,000 Twitter accounts.

The roundtable discussion Anti-Social Computing: Bots, Lies, and the New Information Environment will be webcast from noon – 1:15 p.m. Thursday, March 9. The webcast is free and open to all. The public can also attend the roundtable in person at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. For details or to register for the webinar, click here.

About the panelists:
Nitin Agarwal, PhD, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Agarwal is the Jerry L. Maulden-Entergy Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor in the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology at UALR. He is also director of the Collaboratorium of Social Media and Online Behavioral Studies and a Fellow of the International Academy, Research and Industry Association.

Kathleen Carley, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University
Carley is a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon’s Institute for Software Research, an IEEE Fellow, and director of the university’s Center for Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems in the Institute for Software Research, School of Computer Science.

Huan Liu, PhD, Arizona State University
Liu is a professor of computer science and engineering in the ASU School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering. He is an IEEE Fellow and co-author of Social Media Mining: An Introduction.

Rand Waltzman, PhD, Rand Corporation
Waltzman is a senior information scientist at the Rand Corporation. Prior to joining RAND, he was the acting chief technology officer of the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. He also did two five-year tours as a program manager in the  Information Innovation Office of DARPA where he created and managed the Social Media in Strategic Communications (SMISC) program and the Anomaly Detection at Multiple Scales (ADAMS) insider threat detection program.

About the moderator:
Lea Shanley, PhD, South Big Data Hub
Shanley is the co-Executive Director of the South Big Data Hub. She was the founding director of the Washington-based Wilson Center’s Commons Lab, guiding strategic research in social media, social computing, and big data for disaster response and humanitarian assistance.

The roundtable is sponsored by the South Big Data Regional Innovation Hub, an initiative to build public-private partnerships that apply data science and analytics to scientific and regional challenges. The South Hub is one of a network of four Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs funded by the National Science Foundation. For more information, visit the South Hub website.

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