MCDS Distinguished Lecture by Prof. Meeyoung Cha (KAIST & IBS):

Prof. Meeyoung Cha

Universität Mannheim, O 151

Public guest lecture with Prof. Meeyoung Cha on the topic “Making Discoveries for Humanity & Society with Data Science”

Meeyoung Cha is an associate professor in the School of Computing at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and an adjunct professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Graduate School of Culture Technology. Meeyoung's interests include data science and information science, with a focus on modeling socially relevant information propagation processes. Her research on misinformation, poverty mapping, fraud detection, and long-tail content has received over 20,000 citations and best paper awards. She has received Korean Young Information Scientist Award 2019, AAAI ICWSM Test-of-Time Award 2020, and ACM IMC Test-of-Time Award 2022.

Meeyoung has worked as a visiting professor at Facebook's Data Science Team in the US and has been named the World Customs Organization’s BACUDA science collaborator. She is a member of the Seoul Forum for International Affairs (SFIA) and a commissioner for the Korea Copyright Commission, the Korea Customs Service, the National Tax Service, and the Presidential Council on Intellectual Property. As a Chief Investigator, she also leads the Data Science Research Group at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) in Korea. As of December 2023, Meeyoung has been affiliated as a Scientific Director of the Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy (MPI-SP) in Bochum, Germany.

With exponentially increasing data and computing power, we are making important discoveries for humanity and society at a faster pace. In this talk, I'd like to share my journey into data science on two pressing and socially significant topics. First is sustainable development. Data-driven measurements are critical for making decisions. Unfortunately, many of the world's poorest countries continue to lack accurate data for basic statistics like population density and wealth. I will introduce new methods for inferring economic development from high-resolution daytime satellite imagery using computer vision. In particular, I will talk about our team’s effort to create the first-ever 1 km^2  economic map of North Korea, Nepal, and Cambodia.

Second is social dynamics. Emerging technologies like social media, chatbots, and AI systems are changing how humans interact with one another and with information. This can lead to negative outcomes such as misinformation and hate speech. However, this can also lead to positive changes such as democratizing opportunities and broadening mental support. In this talk, I will introduce our group’s effort to debunk false rumors during COVID-19, by sending facts before rumors to 50,000 individuals in 151 countries. I will also talk about how data can be used to better understand culture (e.g., visualizing sneaker designs over 22 years) and social needs (e.g., how users interacted with AI chatbots during the pandemic). I'll conclude the talk by discussing other exciting opportunities for using data science and AI for social impact.

The lecture will take place in room O 151 (Hans Luik lecture hall) at the University of Mannheim on April 9, 2024 at 12 noon. Prof. Markus Strohmaier (MCDS) will be the host. Admission is free. All interested parties are cordially invited.