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Guest Lecture Series - "The Need for Cognitive Security"

On Tuesday, May 15 VSM/CityU hosted another guest lecture with esteemed guest speaker, Dr. Rand Waltzman.

An informed public is critical to a democratic society.  The massive scale pollution of the information environment that we currently face and that is increasing at an enormous rate – with domestic as well as international sources – therefore poses an existential threat to our democratic system.  Operations in the information environment now play a dominant role in everything from politics to terrorism to geopolitical warfare and business.  These operations are increasingly dependent on the use of techniques of mass manipulation.  

Information has been weaponized and its use guided by social psychology.  Operations are complicated by the fact that they now occur at a speed and extent previously unimaginable.  Traditional cyber security is all about defense of the information infrastructure.  But that does not provide much help against use of the infrastructure to influence and manipulate entire populations, e.g. classical denial of service attacks vs cognitive denial of service attacks.  That problem requires a different approach and a different set of supporting technologies.  I call these collectively Cognitive Security.

Rand is currently a Senior Information Scientist at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA. Prior to joining RAND, he was the acting chief technology officer of the Software Engineering Institute (Washington, DC) of Carnegie Mellon University. Before that he did a five-year tour as a Program Manager in the Information Innovation Office of DARPA where he created and managed the Social Media in Strategic Communications (SMISC) program and the Anomaly Detection at Multiple Scales (ADAMS) insider threat detection program. Rand joined DARPA from Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories (LM-ATL), where he served as Chief Scientist for the Applied Sciences Laboratory that specializes in advanced software techniques and the computational physics of materials. Prior to LM-ATL he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, where he taught and performed research in applications of machine intelligence technology to a variety of problem areas including digital entertainment, automated reasoning and decision support and cyber threat detection. Before his professorship he served as a DARPA Program Manager focusing on machine intelligence and image understanding. Rand has also held research positions at the University of Maryland, Teknowledge Corporation, and the Applied Physics Laboratory of the University of Washington.


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