Polytechnic faculty discuss cyberdeviance, drones, smart polymers at Dawn or Doom

Professors from Purdue’s Polytechnic Institute gave presentations on creating artificial intelligence to help law enforcement investigate cyberdeviance, assessing the threat potential of drones and autonomous vehicles, and embedding intelligence into polymers at Purdue University’s annual Dawn or Doom conference last week (Nov. 5).

Predators meet AI

Creating artificial intelligence (AI) that can help police determine which online threats to children require investigative priority is incredibly difficult, according to Julia Rayz, associate professor of computer and information technology, and Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar, assistant professor of computer and

information technology. They presented “Predators Meet AI: Assisting Law Enforcement with Crimes Against Children” at the conference.

One in 25 children experience sexual solicitation online in which the offender asks to meet with them in the physical world. Choosing which crimes to investigate is a challenge for law enforcement due to the overwhelming quantity of reports and the difficulty of parsing natural language, Rayz and Seigfried-Spellar said.

Unlike humans, machines can process an enormous amount of data quickly, but the mindset of an Internet predator is difficult for computers to determine. Further, shifts in the meaning of words that happen over time and/or due to context complicate the matter of helping create AI capable of processing text found online.

Can polymers think?

Richard Voyles, professor of electrical and computer engineering technology and head of the Collaborative Robotics Lab, believes adding robotic technologies to industries such as manufacturing and transportation won’t eliminate jobs. Instead, the adoption of robotics will require an increase in the number of people in careers already associated with the technology, such as programmers, and careers in unforeseen technologies that haven’t been invented yet.

Additionally, Voyles predicts robots and other smart products will soon be made of augmented polymers embedded with sensing and computation-based organic electronics. The embedded sensors will add the functions of sensing, computing and actuating to the materials.

Voyles presented “Can Polymers Think? Embodied Intelligence in a Meta-Material World” at the conference.

Autonomous drones, vehicles pose threat

Eric Matson, professor of computer and information technology, said autonomous vehicles like fire-fighting robots and other robots that survey disaster areas help keep humans safe.

But autonomous vehicles including drones and the self-driving, ride-sharing cars of the future also come with a threat potential. Malicious use of autonomous technology presents potential “threatsand opportunities from every direction, from land, air and sea,” said Matson.

Matson’s presentation was titled “Drones and Autonomous Vehicles: The latest new technology to come with threat potential.”

Polytechnic faculty have given presentations every year at Dawn or Doom since the inaugural 2014 conference.

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