In May 2019, Dr. Amir Adler from our Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department was honored to receive a coveted $100,000 grant from Facebook that will further his vital research into detecting and monitoring hate speech on social media. Dr. Adler is the sole Israeli data science researcher to be awarded this prestigious grant, which to date has been won by only 19 research groups out of 184 international applicants. The grant was bestowed under the auspices of Facebook’s innovative program to promote “Content Policy Research on Social Media Platforms.”
“The phenomenon of hate speech on social media is expanding rapidly, resulting in extremely negative and widespread social consequences,” Dr. Adler said in response to his grant. “Sometimes, this hate speech seeps into the real world, leading to severe physical violence. Facebook alone has around 2.4 billion active users, and automatically detecting hate speech in real time is a difficult problem to solve, due to both the large volume of users and the complex phrasings of the offending posts. This is exactly why I chose to take up this research challenge, which is aiming to improve the quality of social media posts, so that I could effect a positive global impact. I presented a solution based on deep learning technology, a subject in which I have gained considerable experience in recent years. This technology enables us to derive insights and algorithms from big data, like the huge amounts of information present in the world of social media. Deep learning is the world’s leading field in artificial intelligence today and is based on the design of vast neural networks that simulate brain activity.”
Dr. Adler, who served as Chief Scientist in Israel’s Ministry of Communications until 2016, is also a research fellow at MIT. His research in data science focuses on localizing brain signals in order to better understand brain function. As well, Dr. Adler collaborates with Royal Dutch Shell, the world’s largest energy company, to map geological strata several miles below the seabed.