The mathematics of misinformation


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April 6, 2022 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Science Center 507
Address: 1 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA

Noah Giansiracusa - Bentley

In this talk I'll gently survey various roles mathematics (often, but not always, in the form of machine learning) plays in our information ecosystem. I'll discuss the math behind YouTube's recommendation algorithm and Facebook's News Feed algorithm and the impact the choice of objective function has on what society sees and thinks. I'll explain how graph theory is used to quantitatively study the spread of news and misinformation on social media, and also how it is used to detect bot accounts. And I'll explain the math behind deepfake photos and videos and text generating AI. No prior knowledge of machine learning or data science will be assumed, and the math will be accessible to all undergraduates.