AI and India – Brookings #TechTank

As artificial intelligence technologies take over larger number of tasks, India will face unique impacts of automation relative to other countries. With its large and young population, advances in AI will affect India in aspects from jobs to quality of life. Incidentally, the Indian economy is currently ill-equipped to face the advent of automation and AI. To read more...

Spatial-Temporal Effect of Household Solid Waste on Illegal Dumping – Journal of Cleaner Production

Along with colleagues Wenting Yang and Bo Fan, at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, I have a paper accepted at Journal of Cleaner Production.

Spatial-Temporal Effect of Household Solid Waste on Illegal Dumping

Illegal dumping is an increasingly costly problem with profoundly negative consequences for the livability and sustainability of our communities. The problem of illegal dumping is particularly acute in the developing world. While the literature is rich in descriptive studies on illegal dumping, few studies leverage large-scale spatial-temporal data through innovative analytical tools to study the actual dynamics of household illegal waste dumping. Our study aims to fill this gap by developing a multilevel theoretical model with which to illustrate the impact of illegal dumping. We explore the spatial-temporal distribution of illegal dumping cases using data mining. Next, we integrate datasets reflecting different levels into a hierarchical data structure organized by membership function. We then use a hierarchical generalized linear model to validate our multilevel model. The results indicate that the spatial factors have a significant relationship with illegal dumping, whereas the direct influence of temporal and community-level factors on illegal dumping is insignificant. Furthermore, the moderating effect of management level and public order on the relationship between spatial features and illegal dumping is significant. Based on our results, we offer several suggestions for preventing illegal dumping.

Research Seminar: Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University

Looking forward to my visit to the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.

Date: January 14, 2019

Shaping the Future of Autonomous Systems in Society

Emerging technologies are fundamentally impacting and transforming all aspects of our society. I am particularly concerned with how technological innovations impact 1) the design of our public institutions, 2) the apparatuses through which we shape, implement, and evaluate public policies, and 3) our governance frameworks for public goods. All indications suggest that we are moving toward a world where autonomous systems will dictate how we interface and interact with other agents and objects in our society. We can take advantage of emerging technologies to make our societies more livable, just, resilient, and sustainable. To realize this future, we need active and sustained engagement by scholars across a myriad of disciplines, especially public policy and management.

Public policy and governance scholars have largely been absent when it comes to engineering efforts related to the design and deployment of autonomous systems and policy debates that will shape their impact on our society. In this talk, I will outline why we need active engagement by public policy and management scholars during phases of autonomous systems development and implementation. Examples will be drawn from over a dozen research engagements that have studied emerging technologies in the public sector, from predictive analytic systems to blockchain, social media platforms, and machine learning algorithms. I will outline key governance dilemmas and policy challenges confronting public agencies as they try to keep up with the rapid pace of technological innovations.

ICMA Research Fellow 2018-2019

ICMA Press Release (October 23, 2018) - "ICMA has selected its inaugural group of research fellows, recognizing outstanding action-oriented research approaches to deal with local governments’ most pressing issues. Fellowships will fund four thought leaders to study topics ranging from equity measures for managing urban performance to developing successful innovation training programs for local officials, adding to ICMA’s vast knowledge base of research and leading practices in local government leadership and management. "

To read the full press release is available here.

University of Pennsylvania – Democracy in the Crosshairs Conference

Heading to the University of Pennsylvania next week to attend the Democracy in the Crosshairs: Cyber Interference, Dark Money and Foreign Influence conference. The two-day event is a closed session. The conference is organized by the Center for Ethics & Rule of Law and the UPenn Law School. I co-authored a paper with Atif Ahmad  (University of Melbourne) for the conference.

Weaponizing Information Systems for Political Disruption: The Actor, Lever,Effects, and Response Taxonomy (ALERT)

Information systems continue to be used by actors who want to undermine public institutions and disrupt political systems. In recent times, actors have engaged in acts of cyber warfare ranging from attempts to compromise voting systems, spread false propaganda, use dark networks to illicitly fund campaigns, and even attack public infrastructure via technologies. Initial analysis points to the fact that most of these attempts have been successful in achieving their intended objectives. Given this reality, we expect them to intensify and be more creative in the future. In this paper, we take a critical look at the concept of weaponizing information systems for political disruption. Our analysis focuses on two specific forms of information systems enabled disruption. The first is direct attacks on information systems infrastructures employed in various facets of political campaigns and the election processes. The second is attacks that target public infrastructure and services, which impact trust in government and public institutions of the nation and indirectly impact political stability and governance regimes. We outline an Actor, Lever, Effects, and Response Taxonomy (ALERT) to understand the nuances associated with various types of options individuals, organizations, and nations have when it comes to weaponizing information systems for political gain and to cause public unrest.

Conference schedule is available here.