NExT++ Workshop, Day 2 by Bernard Roper

The second day of the Next ++ conference was divided into two tracks, one continuing the main conference and the other focused on stu  dent presentations. The format for the latter was a significant break with the norm, but an interesting and rewarding experience, nonetheless. PhD students from Southampton, the National University of Singapore and Tsinghua University in China were divided into four groups, with students from each university in each group. The groups were then assigned a research topic each and given time until late afternoon to prepare presentation covering the state of the art in each field and leading into recommendations for future research.  

The four topic areas were fake news detection, detection of fake multi-media content, trust in recommendation agents, and trust calibration via explanation. The latter topic specifically dealt with the explainability of misinformation detectors. It was found that although these systems could correctly identify misinformation and explain their determination, these explanations tended to muddle the waters by presenting too much evidence in support of a contrary position. In other words, this made determinations of falsehood which should be clear-cut, seem less so. It was also noted that at least one of these systems would be able to deal with personal data and queries based thereon. Unfortunately, the approach used in this system to explain its results was not fully in accordance with the requirements of the GDPR. As a result, the use of such a system to process requests by European data subjects relating to private data would be limited. 

The day concluded with a joint address to both tracks, after which it was time for dinner. A group of attendees from Southampton and NUS first made their way to the Marina Bay Sands hotel to watch the Spectra lights and water show. This was truly spectacular and well worth being outdoors in the heat and humidity of Singapore. After a walk through the Marina Bay Sands mall, we headed to the Gardens By The Bay. At night there were fewer visitors and a leisurely stroll through the gardens led us to a partially open-air food court. There we enjoyed delicious seafood, satay, spicy rice, and all washed down with ice-cold sugarcane drinks. Like all the food in Singapore, this was excellent and provided a great way to cap of the workshop.



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