#WebSci20 Countdown – 6 DAYS!

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

There’s now less than one week to go!

The 12th annual ACM Web Science Conference events will be taking place online from 6 – 10 July, 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.

After our first ever fully online Brave Conversations and PhD Symposium on Monday, and the Workshops on Tuesday, the main conference will be formally opened by ACM President, Gabriele Kotsis, followed by an “in conversation” with Ruby Wax on Wednesday 8th July. Ruby is Chancellor of the University of Southampton and has had a hugely successful career with BBC television as an interviewer and comedian. She has written numerous scripts for TV and film including the hit show “Absolutely Fabulous”. After the welcome the first Keynote Presentation will be delivered by Professor Gina Neff from the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. Gina’s research focuses on the future of work. She is currently leading a new project on the organisational challenges companies face using artificial intelligence for decision making.

Our first Panel Discussion after lunch is titled “Web Science – now more than ever”. This event is not to be missed! It will be chaired by Rennie Fritchie who is Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, Chair of Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales and an independent Cross Bench Peer in the House of Lords. She will be joined in discussion by the pioneers of Web Science Wendy Hall, James HendlerNigel Shadbolt, Daniel Weitzner and Noshir Contractor. Discussions will focus on the key role played by Web Science in addressing the challenges we face in society today.

In the evening we have our first “Meet the Author” session. We will be in conversation with Sasha Constanza-Chock, author of “Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need”.

One of the highlights on Thursday 8th July is our Spotlight Panel on Policy and Practices. It will be chaired by Anni Rowland-Campbell who is the Director of Intersticia – a global charity and social enterprise which focuses on helping to develop emerging leaders for the 21st Century. Anni will be joined in discussion by  Adrian Lovett who is President and CEO of the Web Foundation, David Birch author and commentator on digital financial services, Harriet Rees Head of Data Science at Starling Bank, and Jie Tang Professor of Computer Science at Tsinghua University.

After lunch our second Keynote Speaker Professor James Hendler will consider the future of the web. James is one of the founders of Web Science and Director of the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications. He has also been named one of the 20 most innovative professors in America by Playboy magazine!

The Spotlight Panel on Thursday afternoon will discuss the Research Roadmap for Web Science. It will be chaired by Steffen Staab, Professor of Analytic Computing at the Universität Stuttgart, and Professor of Web and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. Steffen will be joined by Professor Noshir Contractor from Northwestern University, Research Director Fabien Gandon from Inria, Professor Bettina Berendt from the Technische Universität Berlin, and Carolyn Nguyen from Microsoft.

On Thursday evening we can look forward to another “Meet the Author” event. It features Philip Howard, author of “Lie Machines: How to Save Democracy from Troll Armies, Deceitful Robots, Junk News Operations, and Political Operatives”.

Friday 10th July features a talk by JP Rangaswami, Chair of the Web Science Trust. He will discuss the role of Web Science in the age of Covid-19. This session will be followed by the final Spotlight Panel which will debate the future of Web Science. It will be chaired by Bill Thompson from the BBC, Tabitha Goldstaub, Chair, AI Council for the UK government’s Office for AI, JP Rangaswami (again!) Philip Tetlow, Client Analytics Architect at IBM, and Internet Pioneer Doc Searls.

You can get full details of the programme timings on the Conference website. Don’t forget to register here and participate in the whole week of events.

We are looking forward to meeting you!

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

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