ISR/ECE/ARLIS Seminar: Jennifer Roberts (ARLIS), "Cognitive Safeguards for Online Platforms"

Monday, November 8, 2021
2:00 p.m.
2222 JM Patterson (in person) and online on Zoom
Kimberly Edwards

Please note that this hybrid seminar will be held both in-person and online.

2222 JM Patterson (in-person)

Watch archived seminar video:


Cognitive Safeguards for Online Platforms

Dr. Jennifer Roberts
Visiting Research Scientist
Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS)
University of Maryland

Online platforms have risen to prominence quickly without the cognitive equivalent of safety protections characteristic of mature industries such as manufacturing, automobiles, and children’s products. The lack of cognitive safeguards leaves citizens vulnerable to applications, devices, and automation that exploit psychological vulnerabilities, with negative ramifications for both individuals and society. This talk explores trends in online platforms and outlines a research agenda to explore technical mechanisms to improve psychological and sociological safety of online platforms and devices. Explorations will delve into cognitive safeguards at the individual and societal level.

A Maryland native, Dr. Jennifer Roberts is a Visiting Research Scientist at the Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS) at the University of Maryland. Prior to joining ARLIS, Dr. Roberts served on the leadership team of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as the Deputy Director of the Information Innovation Office from 2019-2021. In this role, she contributed to development of research programs and strategy in diverse areas of artificial intelligence, cross-cultural stabilization, cyber, and secure systems. She also served as a DARPA program manager from 2015-2019, during which time she started programs to automate and accelerate scientific discovery and to improve USG cyber defenses. For her contributions, Dr. Roberts received the DARPA Superior Public Service Medal (2021). Dr. Roberts holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT, where she was a Hertz Fellow, and Bachelor of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Maryland.

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