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Web Futures: Inclusive, Intelligent, Sustainable. The 2020 Manifesto for Web Science

People have created the Web, and the Web has changed the world. How should the Web evolve, how will and how should it affect us all?


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The Web is used by over 4 billion people across all spheres of life and reaching into the lives of those who do not even know it exists, shaping global markets, climate science, political conflict and war. The possible futures of the Web concern us all. A now published manifesto, co-written by Weizenbaum director Bettina Berendt, addresses potential futures arising from ambivalences that lie at the heart of the Web:

  • Information freedom vs. information quality
  • Personalisation vs. privacy
  • Mass participation vs. manipulation of the masses
  • Inclusiveness and fairness vs. exploitation
  • Sustainability vs. Growth

Artificial Intelligence may amplify these ambivalences towards the good or towards the bad. Governance is needed in the form of continuous efforts by individuals, interest groups, nation states and international cooperation. Novel interdisciplinary, methodological methods are required as well as new capacity.

This manifesto has been presented July 9 in the Spotlight Panel: Research Roadmap (recording to follow) at the ACM International Conference on Web Science. The manifesto was finalized before Covid-19 hit hard globally, but its statements have become even more important as lockdowns and social distancing have forced so many human activities online. This Manifesto synthesizes and extends results from the Perspectives Workshop “10 Years of Web Science” that took place at Schloss Dagstuhl from June 24 – 29, 2018.

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