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Web Futures

Humans created the web, and the web has changed the world. More than four billion people use it in all areas of life. It intervenes in the lives of those who don’t even know it exists, shaping global markets, climate science, political conflicts, and wars. How should the web evolve, how will it be, and how should it affect us all? A group of scientists has been working intensively on these questions resulting in a manifesto that was presented at the ACM International Web Science Conference on 9 July 2020. It is based on the results of the perspective workshop “10 Years of Web-Science”, which took place at Schloss Dagstuhl from 24 to 29 June 2018. L3S member Prof. Dr. Ntoutsi was co-organizer of the Dagstuhl Workshop and member of the Manifesto author team. The authors completed the Manifesto before Covid-19 struck worldwide. As lockdown and social distance has shifted even more activity to the web, the statements have become even more critical.

The Manifesto deals with perspectives arising from the ambivalences underlying the web:

  •     Freedom of information vs. quality of information
  •     Personalization vs. data protection
  •     Mass participation vs. manipulation of the masses
  •     Inclusivity and fairness vs. exploitation
  •     Sustainability vs. growth

Artificial intelligence can reinforce these ambivalences for good or bad. There is a need for governance in the form of continuous efforts by individuals, interest groups, nation-states, and international cooperation. New interdisciplinary methods are needed as well as new capacities.

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