Future Worlds Challenge Event

We created the first Brave Conversations in 2017 but it had a long genesis and followed on from a series of events which we called Meta held between 2008 – 2011.  (Funny as I think of how Facebook has now rebranded itself to exactly the same name but for entirely different reasons!)

Our “Meta” events were so named because they focused on metadata, which is essentially, data about data.  The objective was to bring people from different perspectives and backgrounds (academia, business and government) together to explore the symbiotic relationship between humanity and technology as digital technologies become increasingly pervasive in everyday life.  At these early events we were joined by the early thinkers and practitioners in what we now recognise as the Web Science space, but the conversations were far from mainstream.  That has taken time and there’s nothing like a global pandemic, countries in lockdown, and everyday living moving online to kickstart the adoption of new technologies!

So, here we are a decade after our last Meta event and having developed and taken Brave Conversations around the world and online and it’s time for us to create something a little different, something targeted at the emerging leaders in our society and those for whom being online is just taken as given – those born in the 21st Century.

Our early Brave Conversations events attracted a number of young people, sometimes with parents and even grandparents, and Brave Conversations Kingston Jamaica was especially targeted to this demographic.  Since that time we have been developing an idea to gamify the process of learning about Web Science and the ‘theory and practice of the Social Machine‘ but it wasn’t until we met MIT researcher Jessica Van Brummelenthat it all came together with the result being Future Worlds Challenge.

Jessica is an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science PhD student at MIT researching how conversational agents can empower and teach young learners about AI.

What are conversational agents?

According to IBM:

Conversational AI refers to technologies (chat-bots, virtual agents) which interact with users via speech and uses large volumes of data, machine learning, and natural language processing to help imitate human interactions, recognizing speech and text inputs and translating their meanings across various languages.

Jessica’s research focuses on empowering young learners through helping them develop conversational AI development skills and engaging them in discussions about the ethics of AI.  (You can find out more about this work here).  Once we met Jessica we knew we had the perfect partner to hold our first Future Worlds Challenge and so we now have two events planned for the end of November, each targeting a different time zone and audience.

Each Future Worlds will comprise the first day of learning to programme an Amazon Alexa using MIT App Inventor and then the second working in teams, each with their own Amazon Alexa, to undertake the Challenge itself.

What is Future Worlds Challenge?

There are so many challenges facing humanity at the moment – climate change, the future of education, health care, governance, work-life balance.  The idea of Future Worlds Challenge is to help participants working in teams to think through some of these issues from a systems perspective considering each of the following and how they interact with each other and with the global system as a whole.

  • Intrapersonal – What are the systems within ourselves: physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual?
  • Interpersonal – What are the systems between ourselves and others in our family, community?
  • Societal – What are the systems at work within a society?
  • Global – What are the systems at work in our relationship with the natural world?

 

 

We will combine this thinking with each of the following domains in order to explore the options and choices which are presenting themselves, and then each team, armed with the power of their Conversational AI Alexa, will work towards creating and presenting a Future World which they believe would be the most sustainable and beneficial for humanity.

The winning teams will then be invited to join us (virtually) for our Brave Conversations Barcelona event at the forthcoming ACM Web Science 2022 Conference hosted by Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.

At this stage we have over 100 people from all around the world who have expressed their interest in participating but there are still places left so if you or someone you know would like to come along please register your interest here.

 

 

 

 

WebSci’22 Call for Papers

The Old vs. the New Normal

Web-based technologies have proven to be playing a vital role in enabling us to cope with the global pandemic. Having experienced two years of “crisis,” many new norms have been forming, both socially and technologically. While some people long to return to how things were before the pandemic, others are questioning whether that is a state worth returning to. The main theme of this year’s conference, therefore, is the old vs. the new normal. Even though the conference accepts a wide range of topics (see below), papers discussing this overall issue would be particularly welcomed. 

Web Science is an interdisciplinary field dedicated to understanding the complex and multiple impacts of the Web on society, and vice versa. As such, the field of Web Science is particularly well situated to address pressing issues of our time. 

Methodologically, Web Science is a discipline that is agnostic to specific methods. We welcome quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research, including methods from the social sciences and computer science. In addition, we welcome work that explores the ethics of Web-based data collection and research and those which have a broader perspective on the Web and that combine analyses of Web data and other types of data (e.g., from surveys or interviews) to better understand user behaviour (i.e., online and offline).

Building on our theme for 2022, we especially welcome contributions on:

  • Successful cases of interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary Web research
  • Trends in globalisation, fragmentation, rejoining, and Balkanisation of the Web
  • Automation and AI in all its manifestations relevant to the Web
  • Interrogate questions of discrimination, representation and fairness
  • Bring lenses such as intersectionality or design justice to questions of marginalisation and inequality
  • Ethical challenges of technologies, data, algorithms, platforms, and people in the Web
  • Modeling Web-related structures, data, users and behaviours
  • Impact of AI and machine learning on the development of Web Science
  • Detecting, preventing and predicting anomalies in Web data (e.g., fake content, spam, algorithmic and data biases)
  • Data curation, Web archives and stewardship in Web Science
  • Safeguarding and governance of the Web, including anonymity, security and trust
  • Temporal and spatial dimensions of the Web as a repository of information
  • The architecture and philosophy of the Web
  • Social machines, crowd computing and collective intelligence
  • Analysis and modeling of human vs. automatic behaviour (e.g., bots) and their influence on the structure of the Web and responding behaviour
  • Critical analyses of the Web and Web technologies 
  • Web economics, social entrepreneurship, and innovation
  • Analysis of online social and information networks
  • Legal issues including rights and accountability for AI actors
  • Humanities, arts, and culture on the Web
  • Inclusion, literacy and the digital divide
  • Politics and social activism on the Web
  • Online education and remote learning
  • Health and well-being online

Format of the submissions

Please upload your submissions via EasyChair.

There are two submission formats:

Full paper should be between 6 and 10 pages (inclusive of references, appendices, etc.). Full papers typically report on mature and completed projects.

Short papers should be up to 5 pages (inclusive of references, appendices, etc.). Short papers will be primarily reporting on high-quality ongoing work not mature enough for a full-length publication.

All accepted submissions will be assigned an oral presentation (of two different lengths). The option of additional poster presentations and other details will be decided in due time depending on the technical setup and other factors.

All authors of accepted papers (including those who opt out of proceedings) are expected to present their work (in-person or virtually) at the conference.


Template

All papers should adopt the current ACM SIG Conference proceedings template (acmart.cls). Please submit papers as PDF files using the ACM template, either in Microsoft Word format or with the ACM LaTeX template on Overleaf platform which is available as ACM Conference Proceedings “Master” Template.

All contributions will be judged by the Program Committee upon rigorous peer review standards for quality and fit the conference, by at least three referees. Additionally, each paper will be assigned to a Senior Program Committee member to ensure review quality.

Review is double-blind

Please anonymize your submission: do not put the author(s) names or affiliation(s) at the start of the paper, and do not include funding or other acknowledgements in papers submitted for review. References to authors’ own prior relevant work should be included, but should not specify that this is the authors’ own work. It is up to the authors’ discretion how much to further modify the body of the paper to preserve anonymity. The requirement for anonymity does not extend outside of the review process, e.g. the authors can decide how widely to distribute their papers over the Internet. Even in cases where the author’s identity is known to a reviewer, the double-blind process will serve as a symbolic reminder of the importance of evaluating the submitted work on its own merits without regard to the authors’ reputation.

For authors who wish to opt out of publication proceedings, this option will be made available upon acceptance. This will encourage the participation of researchers from the social sciences that prefer to publish their work as journal articles.

 

Programme Committee Chairs

  • Oshani Seneviratne (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
  • Ingmar Weber (Qatar Computing Research Institute)
  • Taha Yasseri (University College Dublin)

For any questions and queries regarding the paper submission, please contact the chairs at websci22@easychair.org

Key Dates

Submission: Feb 10, 2022

Notification: Mar 3, 2022

Camera Ready: May 12th, 2022

Upcoming Brave Conversations in 2021

Intersticia and their partners will be running two Brave Conversations events in November around the theme of Future Worlds Challenge.

Click here to finds out more and register for the event

#Brave Conversations #FutureWorldChallenge @WebScience @MITAppInventor An opportunity for kids to envision a better future with #AI @WebScience #smarthumans. #technology #climatechange #remotework #digitalgovernance Find out more https://braveconversations.org/brave-conversations-future-worlds-challenge-2021/

 

Call for Papers #SMSociety

We are pleased to announce the Call for Papers for the 2022 International Conference on Social Media & Society (#SMSociety)! #SMSociety will be held virtually onJuly 18th & 19th, 2022. The conference’s two-day program will feature live panels and paper presentations, tutorials, and networking events.

In keeping with the conference’s inter- and transdisciplinary focus, we welcome both quantitative and qualitative scholarly and original submissions that crosses disciplinary boundaries and expands our understanding of current and future trends in social media research across many fields including (but not limited to): Communication, Computer Science, Education, Journalism, Information Science, Law, Management, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology.

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE

#SMSociety is a gathering of leading social media researchers from around the world. It is the premier venue for sharing and discovering new peer-reviewed interdisciplinary research on how social media affects society. Organized by the Social Media Lab at Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, #SMSociety provides participants with opportunities to exchange ideas, present original research, learn about recent and ongoing studies, and network with peers.

 

NEW FOR 2022

·       #SMSociety will switch from being an annual conference to a biennial conference. After 2022, the next iteration of #SMSociety will be in the summer of 2024 (exact date, location and format TBD).

·       The Program Committee for #SMSociety will be authors who have submitted their papers to the conference for consideration. For a submission to be considered, one author from each submission is required to peer review (double blind) three other conference submissions.

·       Instead of Full and WIP paper submissions, #SMSociety will now be inviting authors to submit extended abstracts with a 1k-1.5K word limit.

·       The program will be organized in a way to support attendance across multiple time zones and will allow our authors to safely connect. All presentations will also be recorded and made available to registered attendees for a limited time after the conference. 

TOPICS OF INTEREST

1.     Cyberbullying, Trolling and Antisocial Behavior

2.     Digital Methods

3.     Discourse and Public Opinion

4.     Health and Wellbeing

5.     Marketing and Outreach

6.     Misinformation and Disinformation

7.     Online and Offline Communities

8.     Platform Governance and Regulation

9.     Politics and Policy

10.  Privacy, Security and Trust

11.  Use and Users

SUBMISSION DETAILS

·       https://socialmediaandsociety.org/submit/

PUBLICATIONS:

·       Publication of Pre-prints and Datasets: To promote your work during and after the conference, authors of accepted papers (extended abstracts) are encouraged to share their work as a pre-print via EasyChair Preprint. Preprint will be accessible via the conference online program and other channels. If you have a dataset to share, you can also upload it to one of many data repositories such as Dataverse or figshare. Authors of accepted papers will then have an opportunity to provide a link to their pre-print and/or dataset for inclusion in the conference program.

·       Journal Publications: We will circulate CFP to relevant journal special issues as they become available in 2022. (We hope that feedback received from other scholars during the review process and the Q&A part of your presentation will help you refine your ideas and develop your work into a full paper after the conference. Once ready, you are encouraged to submit your full paper to a journal of your choice.)

 ORGANIZING COMMITTEE

·       Anatoliy Gruzd, Ryerson University

·       Philip Mai, Ryerson University

·       James Cook, University of Maine at Augusta

·       Zoetanya Sujon, London College of Communication

·       Chei Sian Lee, Nanyang Technological University

·       Jenna Drenten, Loyola University Chicago

·       Céline Yunya Song, Hong Kong Baptist University

·       Katrin Weller, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences

·       Felipe Soares, Ryerson University

2022 International Conference on Social Media and Society (#SMSociety)

held virtually on July 18-19, 2022

https://socialmediaandsociety.org/2021/smsociety-2022-cfp/ 

IMPORTANT DATES

Conference Date: July 18-19, 2022

Papers (Extended Abstracts) Due: Jan. 31, 2022

Workshops & Tutorials Due: Mar. 14, 2022

Panels Due: Mar. 14, 2022

Notification Due: Mar. 31, 2022

Brave Conversation Global 2021

Brave Conversations Global 2021

Once again the 2021 ACM Web Science Conference Week will include Brave Conversations. The event runs from 9:00 BST to 13:00 BST on Monday 21st June.

Last year’s event was in the midst of the global move online forced by Covid 19; since then we have held numerous events around the world thanks to the wonders of the Internet and World Wide Web.

So how has this changed the way we (as humanity) are living online?  What has become normalised and what is still strange?  What changes has this wrought for how we live, work and play?

This 2021 event will reflect on this whilst also exploring the new world that is emerging as we have governments empowered by data, a move to online work and learning and a growing tension between ’safety’ and ‘privacy’.

The objective of Brave Conversations is to bring Web Science to mainstream discussions that take place in everyday life. The conversations rely on what people bring and we hope to bring a broad audience from around the world to question, challenge and converse.

Please join us.  Registration is free and places are limited.  Please note that Brave Conversations Global is not included in the main conference registration fee.

Full details of this event and the whole Web Science Conference programme can be found on our website.

Zoom meetings

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