Three professors earned a grant to for a project to broaden students’ mindsets for ethical and responsible cybersecurity in artificial intelligence.

Aditya Johri, professor of information sciences and technology; Khondkar Islam, professor and associate chair of undergraduate studies and information sciences and technology, and Vivian Motti, associate professor of information sciences and technology at the College of Engineering and Computing at George Mason University, are set to receive $299,486 from the National Science Foundation for the project: “EAGER: Education DCL: An Embedded Case Study Approach for Broadening Students’ Mindset for Ethical and Responsible Cybersecurity in AI.”

Using prior research on situated learning and perspectival thinking, the project team will create a series of four role-play-based case studies that highlight different social and ethical risks that often arise around artificial intelligence (AI) technologies designed for security-related problems.

The researchers will also develop a validated curriculum for increasing ethical responsibility in the future cybersecurity workforce.

They anticipate the curriculum development and assessment methods will be easily adaptable to other educational domains and problems.

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“As AI becomes more pervasive to any technology, also increase the risks of privacy breaches and cybersecurity hacks,” said Motti regarding the importance of this research. “Therefore, it is essential that students learn how to identify, address, and mitigate some of those risks by applying ethical principles to the design and development of interactive information systems.”

“Additionally, the project outcomes will enable instructors to access and adopt up-to-date materials, including case studies and rubrics that facilitate the implementation and evaluation of such concepts and educational interventions in their courses,” she said.

Funding for this project will begin in Jan. 2024 and will end in late Dec. 2025.

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