13th IFIP TC9 Human Choice and Computers Conference:
“This Changes Everything”
Poznan, Poland, 17th-21st September 2018
Conference Chairs: David Kreps, Kai Kimppa, Louise Leenen, Charles Ess
Track Chairs: David Kreps and Charles Ess
“I denied climate change for longer than I cared to admit. Not like Donald Trump and the Tea Partiers going on about how the continued existence of winter proves it’s all a hoax…. I told myself the science was too complicated and the environmentalists were dealing with it…. A great many of us engage in this kind of climate change denial.” Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything p3. (2014)
This Changes Everything. Many of us are likely to associate this phrase with Steve Jobs’ introduction of the iPhone in 2007. To be sure, most of us are enthusiastic about information and communication technology (ICT) precisely because we believe and hope that it will change everything – for the better, we presume. But beyond the iPhone and ICTs more broadly, there are clearly other candidates for the “This.” “This” may be the impact of the oncoming bioinformatics redesign of species – for example, chimeras supplying organ replacements and skin regeneration techniques. “This” could be the fourth industrial revolution of artificially intelligent robots set to upturn our economies with the automation of much unskilled and semi-skilled work. But “This” is also, without question, the greatest challenge of our age: climate change.
Since 1974, the Human Choice and Computers (HCC) conference series has consistently fostered innovative thinking about the interfaces between society and technology. Such thinking always reflects the social concerns of a specific time: Globalisation in 1998, Choice and Quality of Life in 2002, An Information Society for All in 2006, What Kind of Information Society in 2010, and Technology and Intimacy in 2016 are primary examples. The number and range of challenges facing the world today at the interface between society and technology are not only mounting, but are increasingly doing so at the deepest levels of the existential – not simply in terms of meaning and justice, but, most fundamentally, in terms of the survival of different species and ecology generally. With the awareness, in particular, that Global Leadership on the increasingly pressing issue of climate change is in short supply, Human Choice and Computers turns – among other concerns – to the question: ICT and Climate Change – What Can We Do?
ICTs can play a fundamental role in the improvement of the education, understanding and explanation of climate change and issues of sustainability, the progress on gender equality, medical advances, and in addressing inequalities of access to the benefits of a highly technological society. It is also the site of challenges to individual rights, privacy, and accountability, and the means by which globalisation has both spread and exacerbated inequalities. Awareness that the size of the share of the growing economic pie that the majority receive has long since stagnated – and has even begun to shrink – has led to unfolding seismic shifts in the global order. Electorates (enfranchised and disenfranchised) in the Middle East, Europe and the US in recent years have punished those sections of society that had both benefited most from globalisation and yet believed their own rhetoric that, as the pie got larger, everyone’s share of it increased. The still more fundamental realisation that it is simply not possible, on a finite Earth, to keep growing the pie, is an economics lesson that the planet is teaching us with increasing ferocity. A political economy of finite wants and non-growth, although it seems as far off as it was when Herman Daly wrote of it in 1973, may yet impose itself – necessarily with the vital help of ICTs.
We propose to address these realities and concerns in the next Human Choice and Computers conference: ‘This Changes Everything’ – among many others relevant to the theme. The challenges of Climate Change are indeed something no one, in any sector, can avoid, and the changes required to combat its effects will require all our efforts. The Chairs of 13th Human Choice and Computers Conference suggest that everyone in the information systems community should be working towards this end – or at the very least, not against it. How do these realizations manifest themselves in the ICT sector specifically, and what other challenges – which change everything – must we address? The 13th Human Choice and Computers Conference invites both academics and practitioners in the field of ICTs and Society to take stock of their engagements, review their focus, and assess what and how each and everyone of us might be able to do to contribute, in however small a way, toward this aim: how can we help the elite-owned oil tanker of today’s global economy, in the transformations already beginning in local, regional, national and international contexts, towards becoming the flotilla of diverse, environmentally and socially conscious, and thriving communities that we must and can develop.
Submissions are welcomed that speak directly and less directly to the conference theme. Interpreting ‘This Changes Everything’ as widely as possible will be welcomed – so that “this” will mean not only climate change, but any of those other global challenges that seem to be most pressing to the Working Groups of TC9 and its National Society representatives – including the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Submissions are also welcome, not just to the General Conference Track on change, but to the other foci of the Track Themes outlined below:
SOCIETAL IMPLICATIONS, EFFECTS AND IMPACTS OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Track Chairs: Diane Whitehouse and Christopher Zielinski (WG9.2)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is back in the news, thanks to such interpreters as Nick Bostrom (Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies), public declarations by big-budget technology industrialists like Bill Gates (Microsoft), Elon Musk (PayPal, Tesla, OpenAI, et.) and Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn). AI-driven tools, such as drones and self-driving cars, present new social and ethical challenges documented in a growing literature. Is AI set to provide the human race with a bright new future, or is it the harbinger of ultimate doom? Will nano AI provide new ways of delivering health or will the robots take over? Many possible futures have considerable – even existential – social consequences. What are they? Accountability is certainly needed, but who will provide it? Can it be in-built or do we need watchdogs? What social and ethical structures are needed now and what will be needed in the years to come?
INCLUDING CRITICAL ISSUES BEYOND THE ICT CONTEXT IN CODES OF CONDUCT/ETHICS
Track Chairs: Kai Kimppa and Penny Duquenoy (SIG9.2.2)
As the impact of ICT developments on society increases and becomes integrated into the ‘everyday’, the ‘invisibility factor’ put forward by James Moor* (1985) of the potential for invisible abuse, invisible programming values, invisible complex calculations leading to the need for consideration of ethics, becomes ever-more relevant. The potential of ICT for re-use, mission creep, dual use and transformation of ways of living may warrant extending codes of ethics/conduct beyond the ICT context, but also raises questions of feasibility and limits of professional responsibility in development and deployment.
*Moor, J.H.(1985) What is Computer Ethics? Metaphilosophy, 16:266-275, 1985
OUR DIGITAL LIVES
Track Chair: Petros Chamakiotis and Brad McKenna (WG9.5)
Given the immense popularity of information and communication technologies, in this track we are interested in studies exploring our newly digital lives. We invite submissions with both an organisational or societal focus, examining how virtual teams, digital transformation, crowdsourcing, social media, online communities, digital labour, digital games, digital tourism and other innovations have changed our lives. We hope to attract research that offers fresh theoretical or empirical insights on how ‘our digital lives’ have transformed the way we work, communicate, and play together.
THIS CHANGED EVERYTHING
Track Chair: Christopher Leslie (WG9.7)
In the history of computing, who were the important people and what were the important devices that deserve recognition as fulcrums that “changed everything”? In the development of computers as well as the study of history more generally, we also know that the more things change, the more they sometimes stay the same. What shifts in the history of computing were portrayed as changing everything but on closer analysis reveal deeper continuities? How do these lessons give us insight into future invention and innovation in computing?
GENDER IN ICT
Track Chairs: Sisse Finken, Christina Mörtberg and Johanna Sefyrin (WG9.8)
Concerns related to the Anthropocene (e.g. globalisation, climate change, migration) prompt an investigation into how a critical feminist gaze (feminist theories) can help unpack the various meanings of “This” and “Changes” in the main conference theme. We also ask what dilemmas the encounter between gender and ICTs highlight in today’s challenges.
ICT AND SUSTAINABILITY
Track Chairs: Thomas Lennerfors and Per Fors (WG9.9)
ICT has truly transformed our society in more ways than we can imagine. While this transformation has increased the quality of life for many human beings, it has also accelerated the degradation of our local and global environment by increased energy usage, resource depletion, e-waste and pollution. However, ICT can also have the potential of reversing ecological degradation in areas such as agriculture, production of consumer goods, transportation and construction. To this track, we invite all contributions discussing this complex but urgent topic.
CLIMATE RISK, CYBER-SECURITY, AND THE DARK WEB
Track Chair: Louise Leenen (WG9.10)
“This changes everything” in terms of cyber-security, the Dark Web, the security of e-voting, health information, public services such as energy or the water supply, and cyber terrorism. Both former President Obama and former UK Prime Minister Cameron stated that climate change constitutes a risk to their countries’ national security. We invite papers on these and other topics to this Track.
PRIVACY, DATA PROTECTION, AND AUTOMATION
Track Chair: Taro Komukai (Japan National Representative)
A range of privacy concerns are raised by the development of new technologies such as AI, Robots, Drones, IoT, censor networks, etc., and, for example, it is becoming more and more difficult to get efficient consent for one or more specific purposes from data subjects. This track focuses on the challenge of legal schemes to adapt to new situations in various areas of the world.
ICT AND AN INCLUSIVE SOCIETY
Track Chairs: Hossana Twinomurinzi and Jackie Phahlamohlaka (South Africa National Representative)
There exists an opportunity for ICT to provide locally innovative solutions that meet the three core challenges of South Africa: inequity (and inequality), poverty, and unemployment (especially youth unemployment). This track seeks papers that investigate the role of ICT in spawning an inclusive society, creating employment and stimulating economic and entrepreneurial activities.
Full papers are invited that address the Conference Theme, or any of the above Track Themes. All papers will be subject to double-blind review. Authors of accepted papers will be invited to revise their work in keeping with reviewers’ comments prior to formatting, and inclusion in the Programme and Proceedings.
Travel, accommodation and all other details will be posted when available on this website.
Submissions will be through Springer’s OCS Website, with proceedings published in the AICT Springer Book series immediately prior to the conference.
Full paper deadline 15th January 2018
Reviews and revisions during February, March and April.
Final Papers by 30th April.
World Computer Congress 17th-21st September 2018, Poznan, Poland.
Klein, N (2014) This Changes Everything London: Penguin
Daly, H (ed) (1973) Economics, Ecology, Ethics Oxford: Freeman