Kalender des ICES

Lecture Series Russia´s war, Ukraine’s resistance | “Hey, Google, are there US biolabs in Ukraine? Mykola Makhortykh


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The current lecture series is aimed at revealing some of the aspects that pre-defined and framed the current occasions. On the one hand, the lectures will present the development of Ukrainian identity, nation and sovereignty in different historical context and under various, often contradicting factors. On the other hand, important part of the series is to show how Russia attempted to influence the country from several angles, often using media, culture and religion as tools of spreading narratives harmful for Ukrainian nation-building.

"Hey, Google, are there US biolabs in Ukraine? AI-driven systems as a means of facilitating and countering the spread of disinformation about the war in Ukraine" – Mykola Makhortykh

AI-driven systems, such as search engines or conversational agents, play an increasingly important role in today's high-choice media environments. By prioritising information sources or generating responses to user queries, these systems become information gatekeepers which influence how the public around the world understands specific issues and phenomena. However, it is often hard to understand how these systems make decisions about representing specific subjects, particularly when these subjects are heavily contested and targeted with disinformation, and whether there is a risk of them amplifying false narratives instead of countering them.  To address this question, the lecture will look at how different AI-driven systems dealt with disinformation about the war in Ukraine in 2022 and discuss methodological approaches for studying these systems’ performance in the context of media and communication research.

Mykola Makhortykh is an Alfred Landecker lecturer at the Institute of Communication and Media Science, University of Bern, Switzerland. Before it, Mykola worked as postdoctoral researcher on the project "Populist radical-right attitudes and political information behaviour. A longitudinal study of attitude development in high-choice information environments" (University of Bern & University Koblenz-Landau). In his research, Mykola focuses on politics- and history-centred information behaviour in online environments and how it is affected by the information retrieval systems, such as search engines and recommender systems. Among his recent publications News, threats, and trust: The role of threat perceptions in determining COVID-19 media effects on changing political trust (2022, the Journal of Press/Politics, co-authored) and Historical memory and securitisation of the Russian intervention in Syria (chapter in edited book Historical Memory and Foreign Policy, Palgrave Macmillan, 2022).

Webex Link for the lecture series: https://uni-flensburg.webex.com/uni-flensburg/j.php?MTID=m23bf7fc163fbf2a04766ae6edc1fb67e