plenary speakers
Wednesday, June 28th, 2023

Multi-Sensory Fusion for Micro-Mobility
Henrik I Christensen

Increasingly autonomous vehicles are entering our daily lives for delivery of groceries, for security, for cleaning of roads, etc. Robust operation in everyday environments is a challenge with changes in weather, people behavior, disregarding traffic rules etc.

Over the last three years we have designed autonomous vehicles for mail delivery on the UC San Diego campus. The vehicle has to navigate a campus that is constantly under construction, there are 70,000+ people on campus and there is a need to operate in the presence  of 5,000+ other vehicles. A full-stack system has been designed for autonomous operation. This includes methods for real-time mapping of campus, detection and tracking people, cars, skateboards, … Estimation of the intent of other road-users and dynamic planning of missions is needed to achieve robust autonomy.

In this presentation we will discuss how a mixture of sensors from lidar and radar to cameras, GPS, sonar and IMUs have been evaluated for robust performance. We will present both the system 1.0 that was used for a six month deployment on campus and also the latest system 2.0 which is currently deployed on campus for tasks such as mail delivery. We will discuss the strategies for early and late fusion, and the overall systems design and summarize major lessons learnt.

HENRIK CHRISTENSEN is the Qualcomm Chancellor’s chair on robot system and a distinguished professor of computer science and engineering at UC San Diego. His research is primarily on robust autonomy. He does research on a systems perspective to design of real-world systems. He has published more than 400 contributions across computer vision, robotics and artificial intelligence. His research has been transitioned to companies such as Qualcomm, ABB, Kuka, and Boeing. He is the co-founder of six companies and serves as an advisor to governments and companies across 4 continents. He has held positions at Aalborg University, KTH, UPENN, and Georgia Tech prior to joining UCSD.
Thursday, June 29th, 2023

HUMINT – Context, Meaning and the Mythical "Meat Sensor"
Kellyn Rein

Jokingly, a human source is sometimes referred to as a “meat sensor” as opposed to a device made of metal, glass or other substances. In contrast to the data collected by devices, intelligence collected from human sources is not just the recording of physical phenomena which can be processed through sophisticated algorithms to attach meaning to those phenomena – HUMINT may also be composed of opinion, perception, speculation and hearsay. Even when a human is reporting on physical phenomena, the act of converting those observations into textual form in some human language requires preprocessing on the part of the reporting source. That preprocessing not only affects the “signal”, it also affects the way in which the information is further processed, whether via algorithm or by other humans. The preprocessing also varies from individual to individual, based upon a variety of factors such as language, experience, knowledge, etc. In this talk, we will look at some of the aspects of the various facets of HUMINT which need to be considered for fusion purposes and look at some possible strategies for dealing with them.

Kellyn Rein recently retired as a Research Associate from the Research Institute for Communication, Information Processing Ergonomics (FKIE) at Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Europe’s largest applied research organization.

She received her PhD from the University of Bonn in Linguistics, after a BA at Michigan State University, and two masters, one in Management and one in Computer Information Systems, both with joint conferral from Boston University (1984) and Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium. Her area of research interest is in the analysis of uncertainty in natural language information, information fusion and information quality.

She has been active in EU projects focused variously on crisis management, cross-border organized crime, smart cities, and CBRN terrorism. She has also been involved in numerous NATO Research Task Groups, including one on analysis and communication of uncertainty in intelligence, mission assurance and cyber risk assessment for unmanned autonomous system, and currently chairing a task group on multi-level, multi-source information fusion.
Friday, June 30th, 2023

Artificial and Human Intelligence Solutions to Combat Mis- and Disinformation: Examples, Methodologies, Limits
Victoria L. Rubin

Deceptive, inaccurate, or misleading information can be spread intentionally (in an act of disinformation) or unintentionally (as misinformation). Being ill-informed is problematic for decision making either way, in most spheres of life, be it health, finances or politics. To aid human users with the identification of various kinds of problematic “fake” content, several methodologies have been developed in the fields Natural Language Processing (NLP)/Computational Linguistics, Machine Learning (ML), and Computer Science.

Five large families of such systems include automated deception detectors, clickbait detectors, satirical fake detectors, rumor debunkers, and computational fact-checking tools. While computational literature documents their advances, these systems’ existence is barely known outside of the experimental labs and their adoption is slow.

This talk exemplifies representative methodologies, their success rates, and limitations. Given the viral nature and the scale of the problem, adoption of some form of automated detection systems is inevitable. Yet, to avoid being disinformed, the final solution resides in the human mind: which sources to trust, what messages to believe, whose expertise to rely on. Rubin synthesizes evidence-based research from interpersonal, social, and cognitive psychology, computer-mediated communication, and information science to expose inherently human pragmatic challenges.

Rubin’s (2019) Mis- and Disinformation Triangle posits that three interacting causal factors enable the infodemic: Digital media users serve as suspectable hosts, prone to being deceived; various types of “fakes” bombard their hosts as virulent pathogens; and digital platforms are financially motivated to remain conducive environments to spread the infodemic.  

Rubin proposes that simultaneous and sustained disruption of interactions between these factors can dampen the infodemic. Susceptible minds require more purposeful and vigorous training in the practical skills of digital literacy in the educational system. Toxic environments urgently need greater legislative oversight and regulation. Automated solutions can assist human users in detection at large scale, yet automation alone is insufficient as deterrence or prevention. Thus, the society should be more invested in deploying artificial intelligence (AI) in conjunction with our human intelligence (HI) to combat the problem of mis- and disinformation.

VICTORIA L. RUBIN is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies and the Director of the Language and Information Technologies Research Lab (LiT.RL) at the University of Western Ontario. She specializes in information retrieval and natural language processing techniques that enable analyses of texts to identify, extract, and organize structured knowledge. She studies complex human information behaviors that are, at least partly, expressed through language such as deception, uncertainty, credibility, and emotions.  

Her research on Deception Detection and Automated News Verification has been published in several core workshops on these topics, in prominent information science and computational linguistics conferences, as well as the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. Her project entitled Digital Deception Detection: Identifying Deliberate Misinformation in Online News was funded by the Government of Canada Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grant. In her recent textbook Misinformation and Disinformation: Detecting Fakes with the Eye and AI, Rubin (2022) puts forward a package of countermeasures to disrupt the mis- and disinformation spread (Springer Nature, Switzerland):