Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar: Alfred Spector, Data Science: Challenges and Opportunities

Event date

Contact person: Courtney Collins

Data-driven approaches have led to powerful prediction, optimization and automation techniques. Powered by large-scale, networked computer systems and machine learning algorithms, these have been very impactful to-date and hold great promise in many disciplines, even in the humanities and social sciences. However, no new technology arrives without complications, and we have recently seen the press and various political circles illustrating problematic implications of Big Data. This presentation aims to balance the opportunities provided by Big Data and its associated artificial intelligence techniques with a discussion of the various challenges that have ensued.
 

Alfred Spector is Chief Technology Officer at Two Sigma, a firm dedicated to using information to undertake many forms of economic optimization. Dr. Spector's career has led him from innovation in large scale, networked computing systems (at Stanford, CMU, and his company, Transarc) to broad research leadership: eight years leading Google Research and five years leading IBM Software Research. He received an AB in Applied Mathematics from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford.
 

This event is free and open to the public.

Psychology
Phi Beta Kappa

Hal Roberts presents Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics

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Contact person: Jackie Baker

Is social media destroying democracy? Are Russian propaganda or "Fake news" entrepreneurs on Facebook undermining our sense of a shared reality? A conventional wisdom has emerged since the election of Donald Trump in 2016 that new technologies and their manipulation by foreign actors played a decisive role in his victory and are responsible for the sense of a "post-truth" moment in which disinformation and propaganda thrives.

Network Propaganda challenges that received wisdom through the most comprehensive study yet published on media coverage of American presidential politics from the start of the election cycle in April 2015 to the one year anniversary of the Trump presidency. Analyzing millions of news stories together with Twitter and Facebook shares, broadcast television and YouTube, the book provides a comprehensive overview of the architecture of contemporary American political communications. Through data analysis and detailed qualitative case studies of coverage of immigration, Clinton scandals, and the Trump Russia investigation, the book finds that the right-wing media ecosystem operates fundamentally differently than the rest of the media environment.

The authors argue that longstanding institutional, political, and cultural patterns in American politics interacted with technological change since the 1970s to create a propaganda feedback loop in American conservative media. This dynamic has marginalized center-right media and politicians, radicalized the right wing ecosystem, and rendered it susceptible to propaganda efforts, foreign and domestic. For readers outside the United States, the book offers a new perspective and methods for diagnosing the sources of, and potential solutions for, the perceived global crisis of democratic politics.

This event is free and open to the public. A reception with a book sale and signing will follow in the foyer. 

Psychology Colloquium Series: Dr. Idia Thurston

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Protective Effects of Weight Misperception among Youth with Obesity
    Idia B. Thurston, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology,
    University of Memphis
Psychology

Dr. Klatzkin NEDA Week Lecture

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In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Dr. Klatzkin will be speaking about her research investigating stress-induced eating. What are the reasons, both physiological and psychological, why we tend to eat when stressed? The answer to this question is not fully understood, yet is relevant to understanding obesity and eating disorders such as Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder. This talk will highlight important research in the fields of Psychology and Neuroscience investigating stress-induced eating and its implications.

Psychology
Active Minds

Dr. Chris Wetzel: Serious Games

The research question we are investigating is how to induce people to see subtle, invisible, undeserved privileges that some groups receive in society at the expense of others. We have developed a web videogame  and are testing its effectiveness in inducing awareness of racial, skin color or white privilege.

Current research team members are: Stephanie Sessarego and Jordan Gilmore.