Addressing Misinformation and Disinformation from Scientific, Engineering and Policy Levels
IEEE Computer Society Team
Share this on:
In today’s world, we expect everything fast, including our news and information—which we quickly convert into opinions and beliefs. While speed has its benefits, it also poses a risk of misinformation or disinformation. The threat of falling susceptible to false claims continues to rise, as communication grows more rapid; news becomes a game of “telephone” where rumor may trump fact; and technology becomes more readily accessible to those with nefarious plans.
Misinformation—the spread of inaccurate information—and disinformation—the deliberate creation and dissemination of false information—have firmly taken root as widespread challenges to society. From election interference to COVID conspiracy theories to climate change denial, misinformation and disinformation pose polarizing threats to how we live our lives.
These considerable concerns will be addressed during the 2023 IEEE Computer Society (CS) Tech Forum Digital Platforms and Societal Harms, taking place 2-3 October in Washington, D.C. at American University. During the event, academics, policy experts, computing professionals, and civil society leaders will join together to discuss the challenges of hate speech, extremism, exploitation, misinformation and disinformation on digital platforms.
The world we live in
While they benefit society in numerous ways, computing solutions such as AI harness enormous potential to spread the false information to users online. The New York Times reported in February that generative technology, such as ChatGPT, could make disinformation cheaper and easier to produce on a large scale for conspiracy theorists. A September TechCrunch post emphasized that AI has already been used to spread false election information with the article sharing that there is “Recent evidence of how new AI technology is already being used and impacting politics today, particularly when it comes to election campaigns.” And Axios reports AI-generated content could soon account for “99% or more” of all information on the Internet.
What to expect at the 2023 IEEE Computer Society (CS) Tech Forum Digital Platforms and Societal Harms
As part of the forum, experts will discuss the challenges in addressing these information threats. Moderated Andre Oboler of Australia’s Online Hate Prevention Institute, the global panel includes:
Kate Hannah, Director and founder of The Disinformation Project Aotearoa, a research organization which has studied misinformation and disinformation in Aotearoa New Zealand since February 2020. She is an experienced advisor to government, NGOs, civil society organizations and firms with a prime focus on evidence-informed decision-making.
Arjun Narayan, Head of Trust and Safety at SmartNews based in Japan. Narayan leads the Operations and Service Integrity group at Smart News, the team responsible for keeping the SmartNews platform safe, inclusive, and objective while maintaining high ethical standards.
Katharina Schueller, CEO at STAT-UP GmbH and a Member of the Board of the German Statistical Society. She is one of the leading experts in data and AI Literacy and ethics, advising the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research on the “Digital Education Initiative” and the “Data Culture and Data Literacy Roadmap.”
Ilyse Hogue, Partner at Purpose. Former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, she worked for MoveOn.org, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, Media Matters for America, and Friends of Democracy PAC. Co-author of The Lie That Binds, media commentator, and named one of the 10 Most Powerful Women in Washington DC by Elle Magazine.
As Albert Einstein famously said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” We need diverse perspectives to combat the negative impacts of misinformation and disinformation, and these issues can only be addressed through the arms of collaboration. By bringing the computer science and engineering community together with policy leaders, concrete action steps can be made to address the collective societal challenges of misinformation and disinformation.