ICT critical infrastructures are everywhere in our lives. Businesses, governments and individuals are increasingly dependent on these infrastructures. They are pervasive throughout society in the way in which it produces, trades and consumes goods and services; people communicate, interact and collaborate in their professional and private lives; and institutions govern, control and assure security and safety in all spheres of human life.
HCC10 proposes to discuss the impact of these ICT critical infrastructures on society. The conference aims to reflect on the main challenges that individuals, organisations and governments will as a result face in the decades to come. The focus will be on both strategic directions as well as on the effects on people's everyday, routine activities. The conference also proposes to explore how to mitigate risks and reduce potentially negative outcomes which emerge when human behaviour and interactions are increasingly mediated by these infrastructures and technologies.
A number of specific topics are to be covered at this conference in relation to ICT critical infrastructures. They include: national and international policies; sustainable and responsible innovation; ICT for peace and war; citizens' involvement and citizens' rights; the implications of social media; and the impacts of artificial intelligence. Each conference theme is explained below in more detail.
National and International Policies
To date, throughout society, many ICT critical infrastructures have emerged in a disorganised way. They are derived from the action of groups, organisations and governments which did foresee the entire impact of their actions on society. There is a significant level of fragmentation among the various ICT critical infrastructures. The overall effect on the economic, political, social and ethical implications for societies is less than optimal.
HCC10 will discuss the role of international organisations, national governments and regional authorities in managing the emergence of more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and secure ICT critical infrastructures. Participants will discuss the relevant contribution of national governments, EU and OECD countries, and international organisations such as the United Nations and World Bank in shaping the ICT critical infrastructure. Special attention will be paid to the differences between developed and emerging economies in this matter. Topics will explore the impact of ICT critical infrastructures in crucial areas from different perspectives. Example applications will include energy efficiency and the management of sustainability, eGovernment, eHealth, security and transportation.
Sustainable and Responsible Innovation
Globalisation and competition have rendered the topic of ICT innovation a major concern for any local, regional or national economy. Governments around the world are proposing policies to foster innovation in their digital industries and spread the successful adoption of these technologies. Not only national needs but the implications that innovations have for different countries need to be borne in mind at the international level. More in-depth discussion is also needed on the societal, social and ethical values underpinning the innovations that society aims to pursue.
HCC10 will discuss the innovations on which governments, organisations and society should focus, and which criteria should drive research and investment in innovation. HCC10's perspective is that technology is not neutral. Thus, it is important to discuss the social and ethical aims of innovation policies. The debate will focus on how economic, societal and environmental sustainability are to be taken into consideration in all investments in ICT critical infrastructures.
ICT for Peace and War
Information and the security of information are vital elements of modern society. ICT critical infrastructures are fundamental to human beings' attempts to live in peace, as well as facing their fears of engagement in unimaginable wars. On the one hand, cyber security is a key factor in the maintenance of national security and the interests of citizens. On the other hand, cyber warfare refers to politically - or otherwise - motivated hacking to conduct sabotage and espionage against specific nation states.
HCC10 will discuss the implications of ICT critical infrastructures to current understanding and experiences of peace and war. The increasing dependency on ICT in all spheres of people's lives means that whole societies and their infrastructures can be destroyed very fast. For some, ICT may reduce these risks through promoting dialogue among peoples and taking into consideration their mutual interests in living a peaceful life. For others, peace depends on investing in cyber security since it is considered that there will always be countries interested in exploring the fragilities of other nations. HCC10 will explore a number of contrasting perspectives on these themes.
Citizens' Involvement and Citizens' Rights
The Internet can enable citizens’ participation in democratic social structures and governments. ICT critical infrastructures, such as eGovernment and social media platforms, can foster public debate and people's emancipation. Some countries have been successful in implementing Internet interfaces to listen to citizens. Recent events during the Arab Spring have reinforced a positive belief that people may use ICT critical infrastructures to defend their rights and interests, and even to organise themselves against oppressive governments. However, it is also known that governments have used the very same tools to monitor and control their citizens.
HCC10 will discuss both aspects of this debate. It will explore cases in which citizens have been empowered by ICT critical infrastructures and examples in which governments have used these tools to control citizens, and to inhibit and punish opponents. The discussion will focus on how ICT critical infrastructures can foster greater citizens’ involvement and defend citizens’ rights, as well as the role of international political action to support citizens who are in less democratic environments. HCC10 will cover the necessary interrelation between the technological and institutional infrastructures in order to understand the outcomes of citizen participation mediated by ICT.
Implications of Social Media
The existence of computer-mediated interactions is not new. Since the 1950s, commentators foresaw that computers would change the way in which people communicate and collaborate. However, the massive diffusion and adoption of social media environments in the last years requires further attention. Social media tools, especially social networks, are disrupting the way people interact in society, in their private and professional lives alike.
HCC10 will deepen the discussion on the implications of social media for society. The boundaries between private and public lives are blurring, with serious consequences to people's identity, privacy and security. HCC10 will investigate how virtual relationships affect the social tissue of societies. It will question the ethics of organisations that use social media to investigate the personal lives of their employees, and profiling techniques to increase their sales and improve their brand. HCC10 will also discuss how society may be organised to defend citizen privacy and security.
The Impact of Artificial Intelligence
In spite of all the obstacles to creating thinking machines, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are advancing. New techniques are emerging continuously. In most environments, robots are still not yet operating side-by-side with human beings. Yet, AI is to some degree being embedded in people's lives despite the general lack of understanding of its risks and limits. AI has fostered the adoption of techniques such as expert systems in a vast wealth of areas. These include crime detection, data mining, education, finance, management of logistics, medical diagnosis security, and social care. In name of greater efficiency, computing systems are becoming the systems which tell human beings what to do, and not the other way around.
HCC10 acknowledges that society needs to discuss the social, ethical and moral implications of AI techniques being spread throughout ICT critical infrastructures. The risks lie in the framing of the ways of human thinking by AI. Gradually more AI techniques are silently included in today's computing systems. HCC10 will question how mathematical models influence the way people interpret and understand the world, and will discuss the gap between the technical and the societal aspects of AI. HCC10 will also focus on the implications and risks of adopting AI techniques and the expected consequences of current AI research.
All speakers and presenters at HCC10 are to be invited to contribute to the conference directly by conference programme organisers. Nominations for contributions and contributors will be made by a panel of experts. Speakers will be invited as a direct result of the contributions they have made in particular intellectual or applied domains and the relevance of the perspective of their thought to the conference.
The papers to be presented should reflect broadly on the suggested topics. HCC10 does not simply aim to focus only on new research. Rather, it aims to attract critical, analytical thought leadership contributions which discuss the relevant themes from a range of perspectives. In addition to hearing from established researchers and practitioners, space for contributions will also be created from junior researchers and practitioners.
Any person may propose the names of contributors to be invited to the conference. The approach is to explain simply the rationale of their contribution, i.e. how the suggested person adds to the debate on particular topic. Individuals may also suggest their own names. Special opportunities for input will be offered to young researchers and PhD candidates who have the potential for developing relevant contributions to a specific domain.
The conference themes are six in number. Each theme will be handled using different formats such as formal presentations or panels or workshops. Contributors will have time to introduce their ideas and discuss relevant topics alongside other experts in the area, and develop a serious dialogue among themselves and with the audience. Attendees are invited to participate actively in the debates, bringing new ideas to the fore. This format aims to foster the emergence of an action agenda for future development and research on ICT critical infrastructures.
Presenters and attendees are to pay themselves the HCC10 fees and all personal expenses related to participating in the event. HCC10 and its organisers cannot offer scholarships or supportive funding for the conference. Only participants who are able to fund their own participation can be accepted. More details on HCC10 fees and the location of the event will follow in the coming weeks.
Contributors accepted to present papers and participate in HCC10 are expected to prepare an initial paper draft by 28th February 2012. This draft paper will receive feedback from the HCC10 panel of experts, and requests for improvements will be sent by 30th March 2012. A final version of the paper should be returned to HCC10 organisers by 30th April 2012. Papers should have between 3,000 and 5,000 words maximum (including references). All articles will be published in the HCC10 conference proceedings (to be published by Springer). In addition, the HCC10 conference organisers are negotiating with reputable journals the elaboration of a special issue on the topic of ICT Critical Infrastructures and Society. The contributors of the best HCC10 papers will in turn be invited to submit papers to this special issue.
Those interested in presenting papers and participating in HCC10 should contact Dr. Magda Hercheui (firstname.lastname@example.org) to describe the way in which their work and ideas can contribute to the proposed debate on ICT Critical Infrastructure and Society.
Authors need to put their papers in the correct template for publication. Please see: http://www.springer.com/computer/lncs?SGWID=0-164-6-793341-0 for this format and the appropriate template for completion of papers.
Authors need to submit their article in Word format (2003 or 2007). The draft and final papers should not be sent in PDF format, as it does not allow editing. In the final submission of the contribution (on 30th April 2012), authors will also need to send back a copyright form (available in the same link). Authors will receive more details on how to complete this form closer to the final submission date.