SDS 2022 – Theme

Symposium Theme – 2022

Our inaugural Symposium will be governed by the theme of “Framing Disinformation.” We invite specialists unbound by industry, sector, or background to identify the lenses through which contemporary information warfare should be evaluated. Scholars and practitioners from the arts and sciences are welcome to diagnose the mechanisms and effects of information warfare across platforms, media, nations, disciplines, and cultures. We are interested in cross-cultural case studies as much as in theories, interpretations, and applications.

The Symposium will additionally focus on the following broad sub-themes:

Disinformation, Media, and the Arts. For centuries, media and the arts—from literature to paintings, from radio, cinema and television to the internet—have served as a prime battleground in information wars, and we welcome presenters to identify how the arts and media are being used today. Furthermore, we welcome discussion of the role of arts and humanities education in promoting media literacy and combating disinformation.

Disinformation and the Sciences. The problem of disinformation requires comprehensive and surgical technological solutions. How can we immunize ad algorithms on social media against being abused by malign actors intent on subverting democracy? What can we learn from the SEO of platforms like Yandex and TikTok, which successfully weaponize the search function as part of state propaganda efforts? What benefits and drawbacks are augured by ever-advancing natural language processing? What can we glean from the attempts by authoritarian regimes to fragment the internet and (fire)wall off its segments?

Bridging the Counter-Disinformation Policy Gap. In the United States, the chief federal law governing digital crimes is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which was passed in the 1980s. The two most prominent U.S. counter-disinformation laws today are in woeful need of reform. Various democracies are grappling with how best to codify counter-disinformation policies. Consequently, we encourage presentations on new, interdisciplinary, cross-sector approaches to counter-disinformation policymaking. Moreover, policymaking is not contained to the public sector, and we invite discussion of policies that the private sector should enact and issues with which it must contend.