Founders’ Forum

Monday, October 8 (18:20-19:50)

Location : 4F Plenary (4F Tenzui)

Obtaining Value from Data

Donald E. Brown


The ability to collect large sets of data from diverse sources such as advanced satellite, airborne and terrestrial sensors, human observations, news reports, and social media has provided both opportunities and challenges to national security professionals. Clearly we want to quickly and effectively exploit these sources to enhance our understanding of the current situation in ash points around the world and to predict the behavior of current and potential adversaries. However, the volume of the data and diversity of modalities, e.g., video and free text, make effective exploitation challenging, My remarks will describe new methods available from recent work in data science to address these challenges and describes gaps that data science research needs to address.

Donald E. Brown

Founding Director, Data Science Institute
Co-Director, Integrated Translational Health Institute of Virginia University of Virginia


Bio: Dr. Donald Brown is Founding Director of the Data Science Institute, the W.S. Calcott Professor of the Department of Systems and Information Engineering and Co-Director of the Translational Health Institute of Virginia, University of Virginia. Prior to joining the University of Virginia, Dr. Brown served as an officer in the U.S. Army and later worked at Vector Research, Inc. on projects in medical information processing and multi-sensor surveillance systems. He is now President of Commonwealth Computer Research, Inc. which provides data analysis and technical services for numerous private and governmental organizations.

Dr. Brown has been a principal investigator or co-principal investigator for over 90 research contracts with federal, state, and private organizations. He has over 120 published papers and two edited books. His research focuses on data fusion, knowledge discovery, and predictive modeling with applications to security and safety.

Dr. Brown is a Fellow of the IEEE and a past President of the IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society. He is the recipient of the Norbert Wiener Award for Outstanding Research in the areas of systems engineering, data fusion, and information analysis. He has also received an Outstanding Contribution Award from that society and the IEEE Millennium Medal. The student chapter of the International Council on Systems Engineering has named him the best undergraduate teacher three years in a row (2001, 2002, and 2003). He is the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transaction on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part A: Systems and Humans. He has served on the administrative committee of the IEEE Neural Networks Council. He is coeditor of the books, Operations Research and Artificial Intelligence: The Integration of Problem Solving Strategies and Intelligent Scheduling Systems. He is also past-Chairman of the Operations Research Society of America Technical Section on Artificial Intelligence and he is the recipient of the Outstanding Service Award from that Society. Dr. Brown’s students have won competitions in the Omega Rho honor society, the IEEE, the Brunswick Society, and the Operations Research Society of America.

The Internet of Minds (IoM)

Michael Smith


The Internet of Things (IoT) is the “interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.” These everyday objects include sensors, actuators, vehicles, home appliances, and other physical objects. As neurotechnologies advance, we can soon expect the development of the Internet of Minds (IoM) where the computing devices are neuro-controlled. Such technology will require the integration of all three of SMC’s areas of interest: systems science and engineering, human-machine systems, and cybernetics. While this promises exciting opportunities for SMC, it also poses significant challenges. The earliest development of the IoM is likely to focus on devices that can decode motor responses and verbal commands directly from the brain. Such devices would dramatically simplify our ability to interact with devices such as smart phones, self-driving cars, translation devices and so on. Soon thereafter it is likely that IoM devices will be developed that can decode information that has not reached the level of conscious awareness or volitional control. This would enable entirely new applications such as self-driving cars that react instantly to dangers perceived by the occupants, or devices that convey emotional states. These kinds of IoM technologies pose serious ethical challenges regarding privacy, and they open a potential side channel for downloading information directly from the brain without either consent or awareness of the hack. In the long term technical advances will likely lead to full two-way communication directly between minds and machines. These devices will bypass the limitations of our five senses, potentially increasing the bandwidth of the brain dramatically. However, writing information directly to the brain introduces even more serious ethical challenges because they could fundamentally alter the sense of agency and our perception of the world.

Michael Smith

Chairman of the Board of Furaxa, Inc.
Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley


Bio: Michael H. Smith, Ph.D., is the Chair of the 2018 IEEE SMC Meeting of Global Current and Emerging Brain Initiatives. He has also served as the Chair or Co-Chair of eight IEEE SMC BMI Workshops, including this year’s workshop. He currently is the Chairman of the Board of Furaxa, Inc, a biotech company, and a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. He also serves on the Advisory Board of UC Berkeley’s Center for Neural Engineering & Prostheses, is a Senior Advisor of the IEEE Brain Initiative, and is also the Chair of IEEE SMC’s Technical Committee on Brain-Machine Interface Systems. He previously served as President of the Intelligent Robotics Corporation, President of the IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC) Society, and President of the North American Fuzzy Information Processing Society. He is also the recipient of the IEEE SMC Joseph G. Wohl Outstanding Career Award. His research interests include the development of low-cost, real-world Brain-Computer Interface Systems, AI, and robotics. Dr. Smith received four degrees from UC Berkeley, including a M.S., MBA, and Ph.D.


Dimitar Filev – Past President of SMC Society


Eddie Tunstel – President of SMC Society