Talk: Calling BS in an Age of Misinformation, Oct 7

Calling BS in an Age of Misinformation

Jevin West
Associate Professor
University of Washington Information School

Monday, October 7, 2019
12:30 to 1:20 PM, PT
Bloedel Hall Room 070 or Online via Zoom

Abstract

Since joining the iSchool, I have seen the birth of data science as a field of study and the re-emergence of artificial intelligence as a topic researchers actually associate with. I have experienced blockchain euphoria, the cloud cover of computing, self-driving cars, and virtual assistants. My reasons for techno-optimism are plenty. But they are becoming overshadowed by the darker sides of technology. The rise of misinformation, deep fakes, bot armies, predatory journals, conspiracy-laden recommendations, addictive social media platforms, unfettered facial recognition, algorithmic bias, and the extinction of privacy have deepened my techno-pessimism. The rise of misinformation, in particular, is one of the biggest threats to democracy, human health, and global stability. It has become the focus of my research, teaching and service efforts. In this talk, I will survey a set of projects aimed at combating and better understanding the spread of misinformation in our digital environments, in science and broadly within society.

Biography

Jevin West is now an Associate Professor in the Information School at the University of Washington. He is the co-founder of the DataLab and the Director of the new Center for an Informed Public at UW. He holds an Adjunct Faculty position in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. He is also a Data Science Fellow at the eScience Institute and Affiliate Faculty for the Center for Statistics & Social Sciences. His research and teaching focus on misinformation in and about science. He develops methods for mining the scientific literature in order to study the origins of disciplines, the social and economic biases that drive these disciplines, and the impact the current publication system has on the health of science. He co-developed a course, Calling BS, that teaches students how to combat misinformation wrapped in data, figures, and statistics. The course is now being taught at universities around the globe. More information can be found at jevinwest.org/.

*Light refreshments will be provided. Please feel free to bring your lunch.

Please RSVP to Jennifer Phipps at jrphipps@uw.edu to attend. Seating for this talk will be limited.

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