Research by Newhouse Faculty to Detect and Combat Misinformation Draws More Funding 

Research by two Newhouse School faculty members that seeks to detect and combat misinformation and disinformation has received another $175,000 in funding, pushing the total for the program to more than $1.5 million. 

Gina Luttrell
Regina Luttrell

The effort led by Jason Davis, research professor and co-director of the Real Chemistry Emerging Insights Lab, and Regina Luttrell, senior associate dean, focuses on refining a theoretical framework for the creation and testing of artificial intelligence algorithms that can identify manipulated media.   

Their research is tied to a subcontract that is part of the Semantic Forensics program, which is funded by an $11.9 million Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contract with PAR Government Systems Corp. The  Semantics Forensics (SemaFor) program seeks to create a system for automatic detection, attribution and characterization of falsified media assets.  

DARPA said in an announcement that it is launching two new efforts to help the broader community defend against manipulated media. The first comprises an  analytic catalog containing open-source resources developed under the SemaFor program for use by researchers and industry.  

Jason Davis
Jason Davis

The second will be an open community research effort called AI Forensics Open Research Challenge Evaluation,  which aims to develop innovative and robust machine learning, or deep learning, models that can accurately detect synthetic AI-generated images.  

“The challenges associated with disinformation continue to accelerate with the injection of generative AI and synthetic media, and it’s going to take the entire community to keep up with the threat,” Davis said.    

“This new effort represents an exciting evolution in the research program as the technology is transitioned to a more open platform that the broader community can leverage moving forward.”  

The threat of manipulated media has steadily increased as automated manipulation technologies become more accessible, DARPA said, while social media continues to provide a ripe environment for viral content sharing. 

“Our investments have seeded an opportunity space that is timely, necessary and poised to grow,” said Wil Corvey, DARPA’s Semantic Forensics program manager. “With the help of industry and academia around the world, the Semantic Forensics program is ready to share what we’ve started to bolster the ecosystem needed to defend authenticity in a digital world.”