Seminars & Colloquia

Amit Sheth

University of South Carolina

"Cyber-Social Threats: Is AI ready to counter them?"

Wednesday January 27, 2021 01:00 PM
Location: None, EB2 NCSU Centennial Campus
Zoom Meeting Info
(Visitor parking instructions)


Abstract: The abundance of big data through online platforms enabled the recent breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence (AI). At the same time, misuse of technology, especially social media, has increased the reach and scale of harmful content in various forms such as disinformation and conspiracies. This has led to grave consequences such as diminished social trust, harm to democratic institutions, poor healthcare outcomes, radicalization, and extremism. AI-powered technologies have enabled those with malintent to magnify the negative impact on individuals and society at scale. Such an effect often leads to changes in populations’ belief systems, allowing the bad to be perceived as good and vice versa. Consequently, this insidious misuse deserves urgent attention before we are faced with malicious super-intelligence. I am among those who believe that the social harms caused by technology misuses have outweighed the social good in recent years.


In this talk, we will look at some AI research that seeks to counter the above challenges. Specifically, I will take examples from our projects related to online harassment, toxicity, fake news, and extremism. Our research revealed that incorporating context and external knowledge in machine/deep learning algorithms is necessary for complex challenges (fluidity, intent, creativity) associated with language understanding. Often, it is necessary to study a problem with the help of empirical models from social and cognitive sciences. For example, our study of radicalization on social media allows the use of religion, ideology, and violence facets based on a model developed by a political scientist. Our technical approach termed Knowledge-infused Learning (, has helped us develop more explainable, reliable, and have fair outcomes. Nevertheless, it is unclear whether the threats and misuse will remain ahead of the game, or our ability to counter them can take the upper hand.


#SocialGood #SocialHarm #ArtificialIntelligence #Knowledge-infusedLearning #CyberSocialThreat

Short Bio: Prof. Amit Sheth is an Educator, Researcher, and Entrepreneur. Before joining the University of South Carolina as the founding director of the university-wide AI Institute in 2019, he was the LexisNexis Ohio Eminent Scholar and executive director of Ohio Center of Excellence in Knowledge-enabled Computing at the Wright State University. He is a Fellow of IEEE, AAAI, AAAS, and ACM, and a recipient of the IEEE TCSVC’s Research Innovation Award. For several years through 2018, he was listed among the top 100 most cited computer scientists. He has (co-)founded four companies, three of them by licensing his university research outcomes, including the first Semantic Web company in 1999 that pioneered technology similar to what is found today in Google Semantic Search and Knowledge Graph. He is incredibly proud of the success of his 30 former Ph.D. advisees and 14 postdocs in academia, industry research labs, and as entrepreneurs.

Special Instructions: This will be an online seminar. It will be recorded but we won't need the equipment in 3211. Photos:

Host: Munindar Singh, CSC

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