Making the Web Human-Centric? New Directions in the Web and AI

Thirty years have passed since Tim Berners-Lee’s inception of the World Wide Web. Today, an increasing range of voices are calling for reflection on how well the Web is serving society. As Berners-Lee put it in his 2019 open letter on the future of the Web, while the Web has created some wonderful opportunities, giving marginalised groups a voice and making our daily lives easier, it has also created opportunities for the spreading of misinformation, hate and crime, and the construction of systems which are more about process than people. It is time to ask: can the Web be reimagined for the public good? Can it be made more human-centric, and if so, how?

The ​12th International ACM Conference on Web Science in 2020 (WebSci’20) is a unique interdisciplinary conference facilitating creative and critical dialogue with the aim of understanding the Web and its impacts and reflecting on the most pressing questions facing the Web. WebSci’20 welcomes participation from diverse fields including (but not limited to) art, anthropology, computer and information sciences, communication, criminology, economics, geography, health sciences, humanities, informatics, international relations, law, linguistics, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology. Following the tradition of earlier conferences, we encourage contributions to WebSci’20 that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. The community engages with novel and thought-provoking ideas and discusses original research, work in progress, analysis, and practice in the fields of Web Science. This year we also particularly encourage contributions on the interrelationships between the Web, AI and other new digital technologies, exploring current theoretical, methodological, and epistemological challenges as well as the practices of individuals, collectives, institutions, and platforms.

​In particular, we welcome contributions that:

  • Provide a broad interdisciplinary perspective on the Web and its interrelationships and connections with AI;
  • Use mixed-method approaches or reflect on the methods used;
  • Draw upon or combine analyses of the full range of across the disciplines (e.g., Web data, surveys, longitudinal studies, interviews, ethnographic and visual data) to better understand user and practice, both online and offline;
  • Discuss responsible forms of Web Science and AI (e.g. standards, methods, generalizability of results) and/or
  • Reflect on the societal impact of and AI research, and how these are perceived in the media and in society.

The conference welcomes submissions exploring the broad theme the human-centric Web. Possible topics for submissions include (but are not limited to) the following: Fairness, inclusion and diversity of Web and AI​: the construction of / online identities, representation on the Web, access to the Web and technology, making ‘smart’ fair; Web culture and Web values.

Futures: ​the impact of the Web and new technologies on future society and social transformation, work futures and the data economy, health futures, political futures

Safety, Security & Trust​: Safeguarding and governance of the Web and/or AI; anonymity, security and trust for Web access; false news; data for the public good; and crime on the Web; ethical challenges of technologies, data, algorithms, platforms, and people. Web & Contemporary Society: arts, culture and humanities on the Web; Web economics, social entrepreneurship and innovation; health and online; knowledge, education, and scholarship on/through the Web; politics & political activism.

Techno-social Web: ​Modeling Web data, users and ; Detecting, preventing and predicting anomalies in Web data (e.g., fake content, spam, algorithmic and data ); Analysis and modelling of human vs. (e.g., bots) and their influence on the structure of the Web and responding ; Social machines, crowd computing, collective intelligence, and collaborative production on the Web.

Important Dates
Abstract submission deadline: February 14, 2020
Paper submission deadline: February 21, 2020
Notification: April 10, 2020
Final versions due: May 15, 2020