Phil 7:00 – 3:30 ASRC PhD
- Sprint review
- Reading Meltdown: Why our systems fail and What we can do about it, and I found some really interesting work that relates to social conformity, flocking, stampeding and nomadic behaviors:
- “We show that a deviation from the group opinion is regarded by the brain as a punishment,” said the study’s lead author, Vasily Klucharev. And the error message combined with a dampened reward signal produces a brain impulse indicating that we should adjust our opinion to match the consensus. Interestingly, this process occurs even if there is no reason for us to expect any punishment from the group. As Klucharev put it, “This is likely an automatic process in which people form their own opinion, hear the group view, and then quickly shift their opinion to make it more compliant with the group view.” (Page 154)
- Reinforcement Learning Signal Predicts Social Conformity
- Vasily Klucharev
- We often change our decisions and judgments to conform with normative group behavior. However, the neural mechanisms of social conformity remain unclear. Here we show, using functional magnetic resonance imaging, that conformity is based on mechanisms that comply with principles of reinforcement learning. We found that individual judgments of facial attractiveness are adjusted in line with group opinion. Conflict with group opinion triggered a neuronal response in the rostral cingulate zone and the ventral striatum similar to the “prediction error” signal suggested by neuroscientific models of reinforcement learning. The amplitude of the conflict-related signal predicted subsequent conforming behavioral adjustments. Furthermore, the individual amplitude of the conflict-related signal in the ventral striatum correlated with differences in conforming behavior across subjects. These findings provide evidence that social group norms evoke conformity via learning mechanisms reflected in the activity of the rostral cingulate zone and ventral striatum.
- When people agreed with their peers’ incorrect answers, there was little change in activity in the areas associated with conscious decision-making. Instead, the regions devoted to vision and spatial perception lit up. It’s not that people were consciously lying to fit in. It seems that the prevailing opinion actually changed their perceptions. If everyone else said the two objects were different, a participant might have started to notice differences even if the objects were identical. Our tendency for conformity can literally change what we see. (Page 155)
- Gregory Berns
- Dr. Berns specializes in the use of brain imaging technologies to understand human – and now, canine – motivation and decision-making. He has received numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense and has published over 70 peer-reviewed original research articles.
- Neurobiological Correlates of Social Conformity and Independence During Mental Rotation
When individual judgment conflicts with a group, the individual will often conform his judgment to that of the group. Conformity might arise at an executive level of decision making, or it might arise because the social setting alters the individual’s perception of the world.
We used functional magnetic resonance imaging and a task of mental rotation in the context of peer pressure to investigate the neural basis of individualistic and conforming behavior in the face of wrong information.Results
Conformity was associated with functional changes in an occipital-parietal network, especially when the wrong information originated from other people. Independence was associated with increased amygdala and caudate activity, findings consistent with the assumptions of social norm theory about the behavioral saliency of standing alone.
These findings provide the first biological evidence for the involvement of perceptual and emotional processes during social conformity.
- The Pain of Independence: Compared to behavioral research of conformity, comparatively little is known about the mechanisms of non-conformity, or independence. In one psychological framework, the group provides a normative influence on the individual. Depending on the particular situation, the group’s influence may be purely informational – providing information to an individual who is unsure of what to do. More interesting is the case in which the individual has definite opinions of what to do but conforms due to a normative influence of the group due to social reasons. In this model, normative influences are presumed to act through the aversiveness of being in a minority position
- A Neural Basis for Social Cooperation
- Cooperation based on reciprocal altruism has evolved in only a small number of species, yet it constitutes the core behavioral principle of human social life. The iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma Game has been used to model this form of cooperation. We used fMRI to scan 36 women as they played an iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma Game with another woman to investigate the neurobiological basis of cooperative social behavior. Mutual cooperation was associated with consistent activation in brain areas that have been linked with reward processing: nucleus accumbens, the caudate nucleus, ventromedial frontal/orbitofrontal cortex, and rostral anterior cingulate cortex. We propose that activation of this neural network positively reinforces reciprocal altruism, thereby motivating subjects to resist the temptation to selfishly accept but not reciprocate favors.
- Working on Antonio’s paper. I think I’ve found the two best papers to use for the market system. It turns out that freight has been doing this for about 20 years. Agent simulation and everything
7:00 – 9:00, 12:00 – ASRC PhD
- Reading the New Yorker piece How Russia Helped Swing the Election for Trump, about Kathleen Hall Jamieson‘s book Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President—What We Don’t, Can’t, and Do Know. Some interesting points with respect to Adversarial Herding:
- Jamieson’s Post article was grounded in years of scholarship on political persuasion. She noted that political messages are especially effective when they are sent by trusted sources, such as members of one’s own community. Russian operatives, it turned out, disguised themselves in precisely this way. As the Times first reported, on June 8, 2016, a Facebook user depicting himself as Melvin Redick, a genial family man from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, posted a link to DCLeaks.com, and wrote that users should check out “the hidden truth about Hillary Clinton, George Soros and other leaders of the US.” The profile photograph of “Redick” showed him in a backward baseball cap, alongside his young daughter—but Pennsylvania records showed no evidence of Redick’s existence, and the photograph matched an image of an unsuspecting man in Brazil. U.S. intelligence experts later announced, “with high confidence,” that DCLeaks was the creation of the G.R.U., Russia’s military-intelligence agency.
- Jamieson argues that the impact of the Russian cyberwar was likely enhanced by its consistency with messaging from Trump’s campaign, and by its strategic alignment with the campaign’s geographic and demographic objectives. Had the Kremlin tried to push voters in a new direction, its effort might have failed. But, Jamieson concluded, the Russian saboteurs nimbly amplified Trump’s divisive rhetoric on immigrants, minorities, and Muslims, among other signature topics, and targeted constituencies that he needed to reach.
- Twitter released IRA dataset (announcement, archive), and Kate Starbird’s group has done some preliminary analysis
- Need to do something about the NESTA Call for Ideas, which is due “11am on Friday 9th November“
- Continuing with Market-Oriented Programming
- Some thoughts on what the “cost” for a trip can reference
- Ticket price
- provider: Current price, refundability, includes taxes
- consumer: Acceptable range
- Travel time
- Departure time
- Arrival time (plus arrival time confidence)
- comfort (legroom, AC)
- Number of stops (related to convenience)
- Number of passengers
- Time to wait
- Externalities like airport security, which adds +/- 2 hours to air travel
- Divisibility (ship as one or more items)
- Physical state for shipping (packaged, indivisible solid, fluid, gas)
- Waste to food grade to living (is there a difference between algae and cattle? Pets? Show horses?
- Aggregators provide simpler combinations of transportation options
- Any exchange that supports this format should be able to participate. Additionally, each exchange should contain a list of other exchanges that a consumer can request, so we don’t need another level of hierarchy. Exchanges could rate other exchanges as a quality measure
- It also occurs to me that there could be some kind of peer-to-peer or mesh network for degraded modes. A degraded mode implies a certain level of emergency, which would affect the (now small-scale) allocation of resources.
- Some stuff about Mobility as a Service. Slide deck (from Canada Intelligent Transportation Service), and an app (Whim)
- PSC AI/ML working group 9:00 – 12:00, plus writeup
- PSC will convene a working group meeting on Thursday, Oct. 18 from 9am – 10am to identify actions and policy considerations related to advancing the use of AI solutions in government. Come prepared to share your ideas and experience. We would welcome your specific feedback on these questions:
- How can PSC help make the government a “smarter buyer” when it comes to AI/ML?
- How are agencies effectively using AI/ML today?
- In what other areas could these technologies be deployed in government today?
- Looking for bad sensors on NOAA satellites
- What is the current federal market and potential future market for AI/ML?
- How to help our members – federal contracts. Help make the federal market frictionless
- Kevin – SmartForm? What are the main gvt concerns? Is it worry about False positives?
- Competitiveness – no national strategy
- Appropriate use, particularly law enforcement
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Security, Compliancy, and adoption. Compliancy testing.
- Data trust. Humans make errors. When ML makes the same errors, it’s worse.
- A system that takes time to get accurate watching people perform is not the kind of system that the government can buy.
- This implies that there has to be immediate benefit, and can have the possibility of downstream benefit.
- Dell would love to participate (in what?) Something about cloud
- Replacing legacy processes with better approaches
- Fedramp-like compliance mechanism for AI. It is a requirement if it is a cloud service.
- Perceived, implicit bias is the dominant narrative on the government side. Specific applications like facial recognition
- Take a look at all the laws that might affect AI, to see how the constraints are affecting adoption/use with an eye towards removing barriers
- Chris ?? There isn’t a very good understanding or clear linkage between the the promise and the current problems, such as staffing, tagged data, etc
- What does it mean to be reskilled and retrained in an AI context?
- President’s Management Agenda
- The killer app is cost savings, particularly when one part of government is getting a better price than another part.
- Federal Data Strategy
- Send a note to Kevin about data availability. The difference between NOAA sensor data (clean and abundant), vs financial data, constantly changing spreadsheets that are not standardized. Maybe the creation of tools that make it easier to standardize data than use artisanal (usually Excel-based) solutions. Wrote it up for Aaron to review. It turned out to be a page.
7:00 – 4:00 Antonio Workshop
- Thought of a title: Transportation as a Service: Concepts, Implementations, and Black Swans
- Starting on Market-oriented programming.
- Would Kaufman’s patches apply here to localize markets? Certainly the idea of long jumps on the fitness landscapes initially (between patches), then short jumps on a single patch could make a lot of sense. For example, it might make sense to fly from BWI to dulles for an important meeting if traffic is very bad. This is why Sao Paulo and Mexico City have helicopters.
- Can A* be applied to create a “best path” through a set of resources (based on time, money, etc) to get to a destination?
- Some interesting belief space work: “Plotto”: Generating Truly Offensive Stories Since 1928.
- “Plotto: The Master Book of All Plots” (Amazon title!) was written by William Cook in 1928. I have had the physical book for years, which is a gorgeous object, but I have always wanted a digital database of the contents.
7:00 – 12:00, 2:00 – 5:00 ASRC Research
- Finish up At Home in the Universe notes – done!
- Get started on framing out Antonio’s paper – good progress!
- Basically, Aaron and I think there is a spectrum of interaction that can occur in these systems. At one end is some kind of market, where communication is mediated through price, time, and convenience to the transportation user. At the other is a more top down, control system way of dealing with this. NIST RCS would be an example of this. In between these two extremes are control hierarchies that in turn interact through markets
- Wrote up some early thoughts on how simulation and machine learning can be a thinking fast and slow solution to understandable AI
7:00 – 5:00 ASRC Research
- Graph laplacian dissertation
- The spectrum of the normalized graph Laplacian can reveal structural properties of a network and can be an important tool to help solve the structural identification problem. From the spectrum, we attempt to develop a tool that helps us to understand the network structure on a deep level and to identify the source of the network to a greater extent. The information about different topological properties of a graph carried by the complete spectrum of the normalized graph Laplacian is explored. We investigate how and why structural properties are reflected by the spectrum and how the spectrum changes when compairing different networks from different sources.
- Universality classes in nonequilibrium lattice systems
- This article reviews our present knowledge of universality classes in nonequilibrium systems defined on regular lattices. The first section presents the most important critical exponents and relations, as well as the field-theoretical formalism used in the text. The second section briefly addresses the question of scaling behavior at first-order phase transitions. In Sec. III the author looks at dynamical extensions of basic static classes, showing the effects of mixing dynamics and of percolation. The main body of the review begins in Sec. IV, where genuine, dynamical universality classes specific to nonequilibrium systems are introduced. Section V considers such nonequilibrium classes in coupled, multicomponent systems. Most of the known nonequilibrium transition classes are explored in low dimensions between active and absorbing states of reaction-diffusion-type systems. However, by mapping they can be related to the universal behavior of interface growth models, which are treated in Sec. VI. The review ends with a summary of the classes of absorbing-state and mean-field systems and discusses some possible directions for future research.
- “The Government Spies Using Our Webcams:” The Language of Conspiracy Theories in Online Discussions
- Conspiracy theories are omnipresent in online discussions—whether to explain a late-breaking event that still lacks official report or to give voice to political dissent. Conspiracy theories evolve, multiply, and interconnect, further complicating efforts to limit their propagation. It is therefore crucial to develop scalable methods to examine the nature of conspiratorial discussions in online communities. What do users talk about when they discuss conspiracy theories online? What are the recurring elements in their discussions? What do these elements tell us about the way users think? This work answers these questions by analyzing over ten years of discussions in r/conspiracy—an online community on Reddit dedicated to conspiratorial discussions. We focus on the key elements of a conspiracy theory: the conspiratorial agents, the actions they perform, and their targets. By computationally detecting agent–action–target triplets in conspiratorial statements, and grouping them into semantically coherent clusters, we develop a notion of narrative-motif to detect recurring patterns of triplets. For example, a narrative-motif such as “governmental agency–controls–communications” appears in diverse conspiratorial statements alleging that governmental agencies control information to nefarious ends. Thus, narrative-motifs expose commonalities between multiple conspiracy theories even when they refer to different events or circumstances. In the process, these representations help us understand how users talk about conspiracy theories and offer us a means to interpret what they talk about. Our approach enables a population-scale study of conspiracy theories in alternative news and social media with implications for understanding their adoption and combating their spread
- Need to upload to ArXiv (try multiple tex files) – done!
- If I’m charging my 400 hours today, then start putting together text prediction. I’d like to try the Google prediction series to see what happens. Otherwise, there are two things I’d like to try with LSTMs, since they take 2 coordinates as inputs
- Use a 2D embedding space
- Use NLP to get a parts-of-speech (PoS) analysis of the text so that there can be a (PoS, Word) coordinate.
- Evaluate the 2 approaches on their ability to converge?
- Coordinating with Antonio about workshops. It’s the 2019 version of this: International Workshop on Massively Multi-Agent Systems (MMAS2018) in conjunction with IJCAI/ECAI/AAMAS/ICML 2018
7:00 – 6:00 ASRC MKT
- It’s fall and dark in the morning
- Change the “Designed systems” diagram to be more of a bathtub curve, reflecting that there is very little activity in the complex regime – done
- Working on the “Second middle part” (discussion? results?).
- This from the New Yorker book review of Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics
- The Clinton orgy-island story met a very different fate in the right-wing media, which pushed versions of it over the course of the campaign. (Fox News initially ran several segments that raised the topic of the “Lolita Express.”) The dynamic on the right, the authors found, “rewards the most popular and widely viewed channels at the very top of the media ecosystem for delivering stories, whether true or false, that protect the team, reinforce its beliefs, attack opponents, and refute any claims that might threaten ‘our’ team from outsiders.” Referring to the orgy-island story, the authors note that “not one right-wing outlet came out to criticize and expose this blatant lie for what it was. In the grip of the propaganda feedback loop, the right-wing media ecosystem had no mechanism for self-correction, and instead exhibited dynamics of self-reinforcement, confirmation, and repetition so that readers, viewers and listeners encountered multiple versions of the same story, over months, to the point that both recall and credibility were enhanced.”
- Transdisciplinary PhD Journeys: Reflecting on the challenge of the ‘transdisciplinary triple jump’
- Responding to calls to ‘be transdisciplinary4’, we have committed to applying and critically reflecting on the principles of TD in our PhD research. However, in current institutional structures and cultures of academia, this adds an additional challenge to the existing demands of PhD research5,6. Not only are we expected to navigate the terrain of interdisciplinarity described as an ‘undisciplinary journey’6 which requires ‘epistemological agility’, but we are also confronted with the task of engaging meaningfully with societal actors beyond our academic comfort zones. All of this means we are constantly trying to ‘be everything to everyone’ and risk burning ourselves out in the process.
Fika – Sy’s talk. Better this time
Meeting with Wayne
- Went over SASO, which we all agree went very well
- Talked about ASRC funding conferences. Will try to see if we can do iConf if accepted
- Went over the rough form of the iConf paper. First review pass by COB tomorrow
- And hung the SASO poster 🙂