Project Details

Description

Understanding Influence Networks and Designing Intervention Points Understanding Influence Networks and Designing Intervention Points In the 21st Century information environment, adversarial actors use propaganda and disinformation to assault citizens political will, manipulate public opinion, and erode socio-political institutions that are the fundamental fabric of democracy. Communications technologies, such as social media platforms, allow these activities to scale at an unprecedented rate. Adversarial influence operations, however, are not adequately defined by their technical artifacts alone. At their core, these activities are crafted to manipulate human attention and emotion through stories that resonate with specific target audiences. The disinformation problem has uniquely human roots, but has been radically scaled and translated into new domains through technology advances. Understanding influence networks and designing effective interventions requires addressing both prongs of the problem the human and the technology as well as their resonance points. An integrated approach to addressing these two prongs requires a distinctive blend of expertise in narratives, strategic influence, cognitive psychology, graph theory, network analysis and statistical methods. The team assembled between MIT Lincoln Laboratory and Arizona State University uniquely fills this space. MIT LLs deep technical expertise with large-scale networks will be complemented with ASUs interdisciplinary human-centric approach to security and defense. We propose a project structured around four driving questions: - How do network logic and narrative logic interplay in an influence operation, and how can this be represented in a graph? - Where are these influence operations vulnerable to interrupt? What are the effects of these interventions? - How can human subjects research on influence and potential interventions be tested accurately, robustly and ethically? - How can research on these topics contribute to a plan for a high-fidelity influence operations range an environment in which to test a wide variety of scenarios? This project is comprised of four main efforts, which align with the questions above, and leverage expertise from both organizations.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/1/215/31/22

Funding

  • OTHER: Domestic Non-ABOR University: $271,298.00

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