ICS to Explore the Future in Spring Lecture Series


By Abby Stoudt

The Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) at Commonwealth University-Bloomsburg has announced the topics for their spring lecture series. This year’s theme is “ICS Explores the Future,” with talks on cybersecurity, cryptocurrency, climate change, and artificial intelligence. All Lectures will take place in Centennial Hall Room 108.

Wednesday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m., “The State of InSecurity”

Dr. Lawrence Snyder, associate professor of mathematical and digital sciences, will discuss the predictions that cybersecurity professionals must make in order to carry out their work. Every year, cybersecurity professionals are asked to predict new attacks, technologies, and how the industry will respond—but what does this mean for the average person? In his lecture, Snyder will look at balancing transparency, efficiency, and security in a world of pervasive systems and surveillance and what this means for the average user.  

Wednesday, March 22, 7 p.m., “Myths and Facts About Cryptocurrency Markets”

Dr. Chulhee Jun, associate professor of finance will discuss how cryptocurrency markets have been growing exponentially over the past decade, but many people still don’t understand this market. Even worse, there is a remarkable amount of misinformation which adds to the confusion. In his lecture, Jun will try to separate the facts from the myths and provide a better understanding of the cryptocurrency market. 

Wednesday, April 7, 7 p.m., “Policy Options for Climate Change Mitigation”

Dr. Eric Miller, professor of communication studies, will discuss how visual climate models can help people gain a greater understanding of the severe threats that climate change poses and the urgent timeline on which it poses them. Visual climate models can help to provide such understanding. Miller will consider the EN-ROADS model, developed by Climate Interactive and the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative, which allows audiences to see the future of climate change across a wide range of customizable scenarios. In this interactive presentation, audiences will have a chance to see how new green policies will affect the climate crisis for themselves.

Wednesday, April 19, 7 p.m., “Machine Learning and the Future of Artificial Intelligence”

Dr. Dong Zhang, associate professor of mathematics, computer science, and digital forensics, will discuss systems that can recognize images with an accuracy that rivals that of humans. This will lead to revolutions in several domains such as autonomous transportation, medical image analysis, and personalized medicine. Currently, most systems are trained through supervised learning, where the machine is trained with inputs labeled by humans. Researchers are working on new forms of learning where machines learn how the world works and builds predictive models of the world by observation and action. Will computers finally learn how to think by themselves? How widely will computers completely replace humans?