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Alon Y. Halevy – Director Facebook AI: Attending Digitalize in Stockholm was truly inspiring!

Online social networks provide a platform for sharing information and free expression. However, these networks are also used for malicious purposes, such as distributing misinformation and hate speech, selling illegal drugs, and coordinating sex trafficking or child exploitation. Keeping users on these platforms safe from such harm is a major focus for social media companies. The topic was raised by Alon Y. Halevy, Director of Facebook, AI, in his talk ‘Human Values and Integrity in Social Media Recommendations‘ at Digitalize in Stockholm 2022.

In the first part of his talk, Halevy describes recent progress in addressing this problem, particularly the use of Artificial Intelligence techniques. In the second half of the talk, he takes a broader view of the problem as one of incorporating human values into social media recommendations. Critically, this topic raises challenges that span much beyond pure technical ones. Halevy shares some observations from a study on human values that included experts from the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Human-Computer Interaction, psychology, policy, law, and journalism.

– Attending Digitalize in Stockholm was truly inspiring. The range and diversity of ideas and experiences was truly impressive! concludes Alon Halevy.

Alon Halevy has been a director at Meta AI (and most recently, Reality Labs Research) since 2019, where he works on Human Value Alignment, the combination of neural and symbolic techniques for data management and responsible personal information management.

Before Facebook, Alon was the CEO of Megagon Labs (2015-2018) and led the Structured Data Research Group at Google Research (2005-2015), where the team developed WebTables and Google Fusion Tables. From 1998 to 2005, he was a professor at the University of Washington, where he founded the database group. Alon is a founder of two startups, Nimble Technology and Transformic Inc. (acquired by Google in 2005). He received his PhD in Computer Science from Stanford in 1993. Alon co-authored two books: The Infinite Emotions of Coffee and Principles of Data Integration. He is a Fellow of the ACM and a recipient of the PECASE award and Sloan Fellowship. With his co-authors, he received VLDB 10-year best paper awards for the 2008 paper on WebTables and the 1996 paper on the Information Manifold data integration system. In 2021, he received the Edgar F. Codd SIGMOD Innovations Award.

Link to talk on Youtube:

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