The consumption of information by individuals, and the assurance that information is accurate, is crucial to the well-being of societies. Misinformation/disinformation and the related misperception (the incorrect perception of policies, phenomena, etc.) is not new, but while in the past, information took time to be spread (giving people more time to verify information), the Internet and in particular social media platforms have enabled information to spread faster than anyone, or any system, can verify its veracity. Such spread can accentuate problems such as the emergence of echo chambers, online incivility, opinion polarization, radicalisation, all of which can have consequences for people’s mental health, democracy, and the fabric of society itself. This Turing Interest Group (TIG) will focus on bringing together researchers of all backgrounds with an interest of leveraging data (such as social media data) together with current AI approaches to process information, leading to the development of solutions to tackle issues of misinformation. The TIG aims to bring the issue to the forefront of research discussion and search for solutions that can help people deal with the quantity and quality of information to which they are exposed.
Explaining the science
The interpretation, modelling and verification information is a research area that is cross and inter-sectional drawing from expertise of various fields including data science and artificial intelligence but also, literacy, education, communication studies, psychology, to name a few. Humans are exposed to an amount of information that is beyond anyone’s cognitive ability leading to an information ecosystem that is prone for inaccurate information being spread without verification.
The amount of information being generated in the world, coupled with an infrastructure that enables the rapid spread of any piece of information, causes the handling of information a challenging task. The general population are unable to know what to trust; what is true; how to interpret information being published; how to verify accuracy of information; know what the consequences of information spread are; to name a few. This TIG aims at understanding this world of information spread and look at how data science and artificial intelligence approaches can help the general population to handle information being produced and at the rate it is being produced. Success for this TIG can be measured in two distinct ways:
- The integration with other TIGs given that the “public understanding of information” is crucial to most other areas of data science and AI, while bring the needed attention to the topic not as a secondary issue in the other TIGs – information is the centre point of this TIG.
- Bringing more attention to the topic and contributing to the education of the general public about the benefits and dangers of information spread.
Information understanding which includes issues related to misinformation and misperception by the population can be considered one of the problems of our lifetime as it affects security, democracies, politics, policies, public satisfaction, healthcare, to name a few.