ASU graduate uses AI and machine learning expertise to craft more secure future

November 22, 2023
Editor’s observe: This story is a part of a collection of profiles of notable fall 2023 graduates.During her time at Arizona State University, Jamie Winterton introduced in depth expertise in analysis to each her position as a PhD pupil and her former place because the senior director of analysis technique for ASU’s Global Security Initiative. 

Jamie Winterton, courtesy photograph
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She was impressed to conduct additional analysis into cybersecurity after an expertise presenting skilled testimony to the United States Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law in 2017. She spoke on the implications of large-scale knowledge breaches for nationwide safety.  “This listening to was in response to the Equifax knowledge breach, by which 145.5 million credit score data have been stolen,” she mentioned. “During that listening to, Richard Smith, the previous CEO of Equifax, blamed the information breach on one single worker who, in accordance to Smith, failed to set up a software program patch. Smith then retired with a $90 million ‘golden parachute.’ This occasion actually acquired me enthusiastic about misaligned incentives in cybersecurity, and questioning how we might do a greater job on the U.S. federal degree of defending individuals and their delicate knowledge.”As commencement attracts close to, Winterton’s recommendation to ASU college students nonetheless working towards their levels is to ask themselves a couple of questions and replicate on their goal. “Ask your self, ‘If I’m a hit, what distinction will it make,” she mentioned. “What future influence is driving your pursuit? Whose life might be higher since you’re right here now, doing what you’re doing right this moment? If you possibly can reply these questions, you’ll make it by. That doesn’t imply it gained’t be onerous, however you’ll have a strong basis to get by the troublesome instances.”As an ASU alumna and current worker, it was a simple alternative for Winterton to pursue her diploma right here. She took benefit of the worker tuition discount program supplied to eligible workers, which helped make a doctoral diploma more inexpensive.“The human and social dimensions of science and expertise PhD program gave me the flexibleness to construct a analysis undertaking that was attention-grabbing, multidisciplinary and manageable given the calls for of my skilled place and household life,” she mentioned. Winterton will obtain her PhD from the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, housed throughout the College of Global Futures.After commencement, Winterton will work as chief analysis officer at Boston Fusion, a small protection analysis and growth firm to assist develop new synthetic intelligence and machine learning approaches that may deal with advanced protection and safety challenges. Question: What’s one thing you discovered whereas at ASU — within the classroom or in any other case — that shocked you or modified your perspective?Answer: If I had to decide only one factor that modified my perspective, it will be learning how academia works. I got here to ASU after more than 10 years as a analysis scientist in trade, and it has been fascinating to be taught more concerning the position universities play in analysis and to assist information that trajectory. I discovered rather a lot in my courses and in my diploma program as effectively, however probably the most impactful factor I discovered from my time at ASU is the position academia performs within the broader analysis ecosystem.Q: Which professor taught you crucial lesson whereas at ASU?A: I undoubtedly cannot slim it down to a single professor and a single lesson, however I deeply appreciated Andrew Maynard’s perspective as a fellow physicist approaching advanced sociotechnical issues. Diana Bowman additionally pushed me to develop a more worldwide perspective in understanding governance and regulation, which I additionally recognize. Q: What was your favourite spot on campus, whether or not for learning, assembly mates or simply enthusiastic about life?A: My advisor, Andrew Maynard, created an exquisite collaboration house on the primary ground of ISTBX (previously Wrigley Hall). It’s not a classroom or a convention room — it is only a snug and vibrant house with nice vitality. I spent a whole lot of time pondering, writing my dissertation and conversing with colleagues there. Q: If somebody gave you $40 million to remedy one drawback on our planet, what would you sort out?A: Generative AI can do some unimaginable issues, however not all of them are optimistic for humanity. I’m particularly involved concerning the ease with which AI can create very convincing but fully false content material — each textual content and imagery. Generative AI has already been utilized by overseas adversaries who’re attempting to erode the foundations of democracy within the United States. So if I had $40 million, I’d create a large-scale undertaking to take a look at methods by which we might mechanically establish AI-generated content material, in addition to create distinctive “watermarks” for sure algorithms, like a seal of approval, that are not instantly obvious and cannot be duplicated. I believe with $40 million, we might make some affordable progress in that space.

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