COVID-19 Misinformation: Understanding and Seeking Truth during a Pandemic
Date: Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Time: 10:30-11:30 AM Pacific
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Misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic continues to create confusion and contention along scientific and political lines. In this conversation, Berkeley faculty will help us understand the nature of misinformation in order to assess, evaluate and engage more effectively with the information resources we consult. They will discuss some of the reasons for the rapid spread of misinformation, how predictive algorithms often reinforce existing beliefs and stereotypes, and how current legislation is addressing issues such as partisanship, accountability, and human rights. They will also present some new online tools for determining the trustworthiness of news sources, and for recognizing multiple vantage points of different issues.
Nobel Laureate Saul Perlmutter, Director of the Berkeley Institute for Data Science and Professor of Physics, will moderate this webcast conversation with panelists Nick Adams, a former BIDS Research Fellow and now Founder & Chief Scientist of Goodly Labs, an organization that provides collaborative online resources and opportunities that enable citizen scientists to engage with publicly available data; Hany Farid, a professor with joint appointments in UC Berkeley's School of Information and department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, whose research focuses on digital forensics, image analysis, and human perception; and Deirdre K. Mulligan, a professor in the UC Berkeley School of Information and a Faculty Director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology whose research explores the legal and technical means of protecting values such as privacy, freedom of expression, and fairness in emerging technical systems.
This conversation is sponsored by the Division of Computing, Data Science and Society and the Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS) as part of Berkeley Conversations, a live online video series featuring Berkeley scholars from a range of disciplines.
Saul Perlmutter is a 2011 Nobel Laureate, sharing the prize in Physics for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe. He is the director of BIDS, a professor of physics at UC Berkeley (where he holds the Franklin W. and Karen Weber Dabby Chair), and a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is the leader of the international Supernova Cosmology Project, and executive director of the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics. His undergraduate degree was from Harvard and his PhD from UC Berkeley. In addition to other awards and honors, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Perlmutter has also written popular articles, and has appeared in numerous PBS, Discovery Channel, and BBC documentaries. His interest in teaching scientific-style critical thinking for scientists and non-scientists alike led to Berkeley courses on Sense and Sensibility and Science and Physics & Music.
Former BIDS Research Fellow Nick Adams, PhD, is now Founder & Chief Scientist of Goodly Labs, an organization that provides collaborative online resources and opportunities that enable citizen scientists to engage with publicly available data. He is a sociologist, data scientist, and creator building tools and experiences that help people find common ground and build a better society. In a career motivated by his aspiration to improve the world, Adams has led electoral campaigns, directed the national security division of a think tank, completed ground-breaking research on police/protester interactions, constructed and shared massive and intricate datasets, invented new natural language processing methodologies and collaborative software, and instructed hundreds of students on topics including classical and contemporary social theory, social science methods, social psychology, political sociology, deviance and social control, and text analysis. Adams has founded and led multiple successful and surviving organizations, including Thusly Inc., UC Berkeley's Text Across Domains, the Computational Text Analysis Working Group, and his non-profit Goodly Labs, the sociotechnical skunkworks behind Public Editor, Demo Watch, Research Ready, and Same Page. His work has appeared in academic journals as well as The New York Times, Roll Call, The Atlantic, and Reader's Digest. He has been funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the MCcune Foundation, Schmidt Futures, the Berkeley Institute for Data Science, the Pritzker Family Fund, SAGE Publishing, the Social Science Research Council, and the National Science Foundation.
Hany Farid is a Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, with a joint appointment in Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences and the School of Information. His research focuses on digital forensics, image analysis, and human perception. He received his undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics from the University of Rochester in 1989, his M.S. in Computer Science from SUNY Albany, and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997. Following a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, he joined the faculty at Dartmouth College in 1999 where he remained until 2019. He is the recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.
Deirdre K. Mulligan is a Professor in the School of Information at UC Berkeley, a faculty Director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, a co-organizer of the Algorithmic Fairness & Opacity Working Group, an affiliated faculty on the Hewlett-funded Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, and a faculty advisor to the Center for Technology, Society & Policy. Mulligan’s research explores legal and technical means of protecting values such as privacy, freedom of expression, and fairness in emerging technical systems. Her book, Privacy on the Ground: Driving Corporate Behavior in the United States and Europe, a study of privacy practices in large corporations in five countries, conducted with UC Berkeley Law Prof. Kenneth Bamberger, was recently published by MIT Press.