Reflecting on Web, AI and Society: The ACM Conference WebSci 2024

May 16, 2024

Starting Tuesday, May 21, 2024, IRIS - The Interchange Platform for Reflecting on Intelligent Systems - will host the 16th ACM Web Science Conference 2024: Reflecting on the Web, AI, and Society. Organized by the University of Stuttgart, this prestigious event will bring together leading minds to discuss the multifaceted impacts of the Web and artificial intelligence on our society.

Web Science is an interdisciplinary field focused on understanding the complex interactions between the Web and society. The discipline leverages various scientific approaches to address pressing contemporary issues. This conference welcomes research utilizing quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods, spanning social sciences and computer science. There is also a significant interest in exploring Web-based data collection, research ethics, and studies combining Web data with other types of data (e.g., surveys, interviews) to better understand user behavior both online and offline.

Steffen Staab, spokesperson of IRIS, the Cluster of Excellence SimTech, General Chair of the Conference and managing director at the Institute for Artificial Intelligence, emphasizes the conference's significance: "This conference represents a unique convergence of disciplines, providing a platform to critically reflect on the societal implications of emerging technologies and intelligent systems."

SimTech, the Cluster of Excellence for Data-Integrated Simulation Science, plays a crucial role in advancing the methodologies and technologies discussed at this conference. The cluster is dedicated to integrating data-driven simulation with a strong focus on ethical considerations and societal impacts. This ensures that technological advancements are examined from multiple perspectives, including ethical and social dimensions. Steffen Staab's involvement in both SimTech and IRIS highlights the collaborative link between the two initiatives. While SimTech provides the technological expertise, IRIS fosters the necessary interdisciplinary research and reflection on intelligent systems, emphasizing the importance of examining the ethical, social, and technological dimensions of AI and Web technologies and their broader implications for society.

The conference will feature keynotes and papers reflecting on the Web, AI, and society. Highlights include discussions on technologies such as the Chinese Large Language Model - ChatGLM, and initiatives like Digital Humanism aimed at countering the negative effects of artificial intelligence. These sessions will offer an interdisciplinary perspective on the dystopias and utopias of our increasingly digital society.

Brave Conversations

In addition to the main conference, citizens are invited to join "Brave Conversations," a free dialogue about our digitalized society. This event is part of the 2024 ACM Web Science Conference and aims to foster smart human interactions. Interested individuals can register at: Brave Conversations Stuttgart 2024.

Brave Conversations Stuttgart 2024 occurs in a world undergoing significant social, political, and technological changes. The year 2024 is expected to see the highest number of human participants in democratic elections, referred to as an ‘election extravaganza.’ Simultaneously, technology companies are releasing increasingly powerful large language models, machine learning systems, and intelligent agents, alongside new methods of interaction such as augmented reality. Social media companies face growing scrutiny over online safety, and advances in human longevity and renewable energy are notable areas of progress. The central theme of Brave Conversations is not just technological advancements but their implications for humans and our societal systems. The goal is to explore how we can maintain our humanity and agency in the age of smart machines.

For more information about the conference and its program, please visit WebSci24 and WebSci24 Program.

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