How can Artificial Intelligence Combat Disinformation?

Event date:  16 November 2022

Change Makers is a thought leadership series by Monash Law that brings together the best academic, judicial and industry minds to solve global problems. This edition was co-organized by Monash Data Futures Institute and Monash IT.

Change Makers event poster 2022

Social media use has given rise to many public policy concerns about so-called ‘fake news’: unwitting misinformation and deliberate disinformation.

In this Changemakers event, we explored the different multidisciplinary challenges this presents, and some solutions being deployed. With 6 expert speakers from a variety of backgrounds, we explored fundamental questions in how Artificial Intelligence, digital technology more broadly and law and public policy can regulate disinformation.

Who is responsible and who can be held to account? Are the same politicians and social media giants both the cause of the problem and the source of the proclaimed solution?

We looked at the scientific research that can help us safeguard democracy and free expression, including citizens’ rights to be informed.

Change Makers event speakers 2022

Professor Monica Whitty, Head of Department of Software Systems and Cybersecurity and Professor of Human Factors in Cyber Security, Monash University

Professor Monica Whitty is the Head of Department of Software Systems and Cybersecurity and is Professor of Human Factors in Cyber Security. She has been a member of the World Economic Forum Cyber Security Centre and was a member of the WEF Cyber Security Global Futures Committee. Prof Whitty is the author of over 100 articles and 5 books. She is a leading expert on cyber fraud (esp. romance scams), identities created in cyberspace, online security risks, behaviour in cyberspace, insider threat, as well as detecting and preventing deception, such as cyberscams and mis/disinformation. Monica is also currently on a talkback radio program on ABC Cairns to provide help and feedback to prevent scam victimization.

Associate Professor Yuan-Fang Li, Department of Data Science & Artificial Intelligence (DS+AI), Monash University

Yuan-Fang Li is an Associate Professor in the Department of Data Science & Artificial Intelligence (DSAI), Faculty of Information Technology, Monash University. Yuan-Fang's current research interests include knowledge graphs, natural language processing, and representation learning of networks/graphs. More information about his work can be found on his personal homepage.

Research Professor John Cook, Climate Change Communication Research Hub, Monash University

John Cook is a postdoctoral research fellow with the Climate Change Communication Research Hub at Monash University. His research focus is on developing interdisciplinary solutions to misinformation about climate change, such as detecting misinformation claims using machine learning and using critical thinking to build public resilience. He recently released the Cranky Uncle game, combining critical thinking, cartoons, and gamification to build players’ resilience against misinformation. He currently works with organizations like Facebook, NASA, and UNICEF to develop evidence-based responses to misinformation.

Commentator: Associate Professor Michelle Lazarus, Director, Monash Centre for Human Anatomy Education (CHAE), Anatomy & Developmental Biology, Biomedical Discovery Institute.

Associate Professor Michelle Lazarus serves as the Director of the Monash Centre for Human Anatomy Education (CHAE) for Anatomy & Developmental Biology within the Biomedical Discovery Institute. Additionally, she is the Curriculum Integration Network lead within the Monash Centre Scholarship in Health Education (MCSHE) as well as a Monash Education Academy Fellow, anatomy education discipline lead within the medical curriculum, and a core member of the General Surgical Science Examination Board for Royal Australian College of Surgeons. Dr Lazarus is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) and is the recipient of the Australian Award for University Teaching Excellence in Health. She tweets at @InsidOutAnatomy.

Associate Professor Michael Veale, University College London

Michael Veale is Associate Professor in digital rights and regulation at University College London's Faculty of Laws. His research focuses on how to understand and address challenges of power and justice that digital technologies and their users create and exacerbate, in areas such as privacy-enhancing technologies and machine learning. This work is regularly cited by legislators, regulators and governments, and Dr Veale has consulted for a range of policy organisations including the Royal Society and British Academy, the Law Society of England and Wales, the European Commission, the Commonwealth Secretariat. Dr Veale holds a PhD from UCL, a MSc from Maastricht University and a BSc from LSE. He tweets at @mikarv.

Commentator and Moderator:
Professor Chris Marsden, Professor of Artificial Intelligence, Technology and the Law, Monash University

Chris Marsden is Professor of Artificial Intelligence, Technology and the Law at Monash University and an expert on Internet and digital technology law, having researched and taught in the field since 1995. Chris researches regulation by code - whether legal, software or social code. He is author of five monographs including "Net neutrality" (2017), "Regulating Code" (2013 with Prof. Ian Brown), "Internet Co-regulation" (2011). He is author of many refereed articles, book chapters, professional articles, keynote addresses, and other scholarly contributions. He joins Monash from Sussex Law School, where he was Professor of Law (2013-22) and the founder and Director of the Centre for Information Governance Research (@SussCIGR) and Co-Investigator in the UK Trusted Autonomous Systems Governance and Regulation consortium (UKRI-EPSRC @tas_governance) and Centre for Inclusive Trade Policy (UKRI-ESRC @Centre4ITP).

Jean Linis-Dinco, PhD Candidate, UNSW Canberra

Jean Linis-Dinco is a human rights activist in the Philippines. She is currently pursuing a PhD at UNSW Canberra focusing on the analysis of government propaganda and disinformation in the context of the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar. Earlier this year, Jean received a Peace Ambassadorship from the European Commission to attend the One Young World Summit in the UK. She was selected for her work in disinformation and peacebuilding. Jean has recently won an award for her transnational project on the gamification of human rights at the recently concluded United Nations-Oxford Youth Competition. She is also now a Board Director for the intercontinental group for early career researchers called PhD students in AI Ethics. In 2014, Jean directed a Rainbow X—a film about the rising hate crimes against transgender people in the Philippines. The film won the Top Award from the International Association of Business Communicators in the same year. In 2018, Jean was selected as a Global Innovator for the Human Rights Campaign Global Innovative Advocacy Summit in Washington D.C. where she spoke about the role of film in raising awareness of human rights violations against LGBTQ. Jean’s work in the field of technology and human rights was acknowledged in 2022 when she was awarded by the Women in AI Ethics™ (WAIE)--a fiscally sponsored project of Social Good Fund-- as one of the top 100 Women in Artificial Intelligence Ethics globally. Before her PhD, Jean has previously worked as a Public Information Consultant for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and as a Digital Project Manager for Youth Development Australia. Jean is also a Salzburg Global Media Fellow and a Twitter Student Developer Ambassador.

Dr Emma Quilty, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Emerging Technologies Research Lab

Dr Emma Quilty is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making + Society, working within the Emerging Technologies Lab at Monash University. An anthropologist by training, Emma is an expert in ethnographic research methods with a focus on embodied, feminist and visual methods. Emma’s research explores the social and cultural dimensions of the design, use and futures of emerging technologies, with a focus on the role of trust in digital technology use in everyday life. Her current projects investigate autonomous vehicles and net zero futures.