Global Security Initiative

GSI at ASU Innovation Quarter

December 14, 2020

Innovation Quarter lasts through Jan. 8 immersing attendees in fun, intriguing topics and creative projects that explore new ideas, build connections and develop valuable professional development skills. Global Security Initiative put together several sessions, covering topics such as national security, cybersecurity, human-AI robot teaming, and disinformation.

The stuff of movies: DARPA, innovation, and national security (Dec 14)

Ever watch a James Bond film and wonder if the government really builds cool gadgets and technological breakthroughs like Q? it does! A unit of the Department of Defense called DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) creates moonshot-type projects aimed at advancing U.S. national security. This is the agency that started the internet, GSP, and all kinds of other tech we use everyday. In this session, we will look at a sampling of gadgets from James Bond film, and compare them to real-life research efforts at DARPA. In doing so, we will discuss the importance of research and development to national security, how new technologies go from idea to reality, and quickly look at a few key areas DARPA is focused on now that may have major impact on our future.

Human-AI-Robot Teaming (Dec 15)

Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are already in use in many areas of our everyday lives, and our utilization of them will only grow in the future. How can humans learn to better trust and collaborate with machines and the algorithms that drive them, and vice-versa? How can they work together as teammates, accomplishing tasks that each could never complete separately? How can we make the world better together (and avoid the robot apocalypse while we’re at it)? Drs. Nancy Cooke and Robert Gutzwiller, faculty in ASU’s Human Systems Engineering program (in which psychology is applied to engineering in order to make it better and more user-friendly for humans) will discuss human factors in their current research projects and social intelligence for AI, and demonstrate how human subjects experiments in a virtual testbed in Minecraft are working toward improving human-AI teaming and keeping soldiers safer in combat.

Capturing the Flag: An Introduction to Competitive Cybersecurity Capture the Flag Competitions (Dec 16)

A key part of practicing any skill is putting it to the test in a real-world environment. For hackers, Capture the Flag (CTF) competitions offer a simulation of security challenges that require teams to identify, exploit, and defend programs from vulnerabilities. These games are often held at a global scale in a variety of formats, and provide excellent opportunities to develop adversarial and innovative mindsets in the next generation of cybersecurity experts. This Innovation Quarter session gives participants an overview of CTF competitions, including their history, types of challenges, skills and techniques used in the games, and how to get started. Geared toward individuals of all computer skill levels and academic programs - from those with a mild curiosity toward cybersecurity, to those who are actively pursuing degrees in related fields - this session is hosted by ASU faculty who are CTF competitors and game architects. Open to undergraduate and graduate students of all computer skills levels and academic programs.

Weapons of Mass Disruption: Defense, Democracy and Disinformation (Dec 17) 

"Fake news! Propaganda! Disinformation!" Can you spot these harmful efforts to manipulate everyday Americans? Disinformation and malign influence campaigns are wicked problems, posing unique national security challenges and threatening our democratic norms and institutions. This panel of interdisciplinary experts at ASU will discuss current issues in disinformation, including: technologies being developed to detect disinformation, fake news and deep fakes; mitigation techniques in the media; and considerations for future research. May be of particular interest to students, national security experts, interdisciplinary researchers.

Human, AI and robot teaming