The 27th ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems (ACM SIGSPATIAL 2019) took place in Chicago, Illinois this year. I (Grant McKenzie) attended the conference giving a keynote talk in the 3rd International Workshop on Analytics for Local Events and News (LENS 2019) and a position paper talk in the 1st International Workshop on Computing with Multifaceted Movement Data (MOVE++ 2019). The workshops are always a great time as are the organized (and impromptu) social events and it was great to see many of my computer science colleagues that I haven’t seen in awhile.
While the main conference always has a range of interesting talks, one of the more disturbing trends I noticed this year was a move from “identifying fake content” to “generating fake content.” I saw researchers present methods for generating fake place reviews, fake trajectories and even a poster on generating fake historical maps. Though I see the challenge from a computational perspective, I do question the ethics of these approaches and worry a bit about the direction some of this research is taking us.