Making the Web Human-Centric? New Directions in the Web and AI
The 2020 ACM Web Science Conference takes place online from 6 -10 July and is organised by the University of Southampton. Presenters and participants will have multiple opportunities to engage over a full week of talks, panel sessions and informal discussions. Registration is open! This message gives you a taster of what to expect from the event.

On Monday we begin with Brave Conversations which brings Web Science to mainstream conversations that occur in everyday life. We will demystify the world of emerging technologies and explore their interaction with everyday life – ourselves, our communities, our societies and our planet. The event has always sought to ask difficult questions, challenge mindsets, and empower those who attend to think more inquisitively about their digitally-mediated lives. This year we will explore what the Covid-19 crisis means for all of us as our ‘human centric’ perspective is challenged on many levels.

The first day also includes our PhD Symposium. This will continue the tradition of facilitating a lively discussion with five exciting PhD student presentations and a Mentor Panel. The aim is to maximise the exchange of early-stage ideas, and to provoke interdisciplinary discussion on emerging areas of research.

On Tuesday we have a number of workshops that you can sign up for. The wide range of topics includes social inclusion, digital (in)-equalities, personalisation and community, using AI for good, and the secret life of immortal data.

The main conference will then take place over the remainder of the week. It will be opened by Ruby Wax, Chancellor of the University of Southampton. There will be keynote presentations from Professor Gina Neff from the Oxford Internet Institute whose research focuses on the future of work, and Professor James Hendler from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who will discuss the future of the Web.

Panel sessions will feature some of the world’s leading technology companies and policy makers. They will join the “movers and shakers” of Web Science to focus on topics that are of increasing global significance as our engagement with the Web prompts radical shifts in how we live, learn and work. There will also be a number of academic paper sessions and two “meet the author” opportunities. You can access the provisional programme here.

More details of the presenters and their sessions will be shared over the next couple of weeks. Keep an eye on our tweets, the #WebSci20 hashtag and our website for further updates.

We look forward to welcoming you to the first wholly online Web Science conference in July!

Pauline Leonard & Emilio Ferrara (Program Chairs)
Wendy Hall (General Chair)