TRACK 1. Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms for Future Governments

Track Chairs: Sehl Mellouli, Marijn Janssen, Adegboyega Ojo

Artificial intelligence (AI) can be viewed as the way to simulate human behavior by machines. It is based on a set of algorithms and techniques such as deep learning, neural networks, expert systems, or probabilistic models. Even if it is a new technology, it is attracting more and more attention with the huge amount of data made available by new technologies and users. Government is one the areas that is paying attention to AI to tackle the amount of data it has. In fact, AI provides new tools and techniques for governments to exploit the vast amount of data they have. Governments are not only looking for new applications based on AI, for automated decisions, and improving policy-making, but also at the impacts that AI can have on different levels of government. The purpose of this track is to investigate how AI can be implemented and adopted by governments at different levels and what AI can add to government.

TRACK 2. Social Media and Government

Track chairs: Andrea Kavanaugh, Rodrigo Sandoval-Almazan, and J. Ignacio Criado

Social media is used by government at all levels and by its constituents to communicate civic and political information, to engage in democratic and collaborative practices, and to innovate on public service delivery, routinely and during the recent turbulent times of COVID. For this year’s theme “Digital Innovations for Public Values: Inclusive Collaboration and Community” we especially welcome papers related to the adoption and use of social media with a focus on the impact of that use on public values, such as efficiency, equity, efficacy, transparency, participation, collaboration, innovation, privacy, security, and trust. This track expects to attract the attention of ongoing work in the field of social media and government, including interesting research questions, rigorous empirical studies, and in-depth case studies, with the aim of enriching the theories, research methods, data, and available cases in this research area. We welcome papers on traditional and emerging issues related to the conference theme, including: public values reflected or disrupted by social media, social media use and users, political polarization and mobilization, political expression and sentiment analysis, verification and fake news, chatbots and artificial intelligence-based systems in governments, instant messaging apps, civic use of media content sharing platforms (i.e. YouTube, Instagram or Tik Tok), and social media use for emergency management.

TRACK 3. Digital Sovereignty in the Era of Smart Cities

Track chairs: Bettina Distel, Robert Krimmer, and Hendrik Scholta

In the digital age, the transformation of a city to a smart city is in great motion. Governments around the world are investing in the interconnection of virtual and non-virtual spaces, services are being increasingly provided digitally and proactively, and internal processes are often executed automatically. While advocates of these developments highlight positive effects on public value creation, the fast developments call critics to the scene. The pace with which new possibilities are evaluated and oftentimes put into practice, casts shadows on the idea of smart cities, sometimes turning it into dark dystopian image. The creation of a smart city hence risks becoming a technocratic frenzy where a citizen can lose what we call digital sovereignty—citizen’s authority and control over personal data. The divulgence of personal data to private companies and public institutions increases convenience and efficiency, but opens space for controversies. Meanwhile, a sacrifice in digital sovereignty is inherent to implementing a smart city. The balancing of creating public value through digital innovation on the one hand and the protection and strengthening of citizens’ digital sovereignty on the other hand thus becomes a major challenge for both researchers and practitioners.

TRACK 4. Opening Government: Open Data-driven Innovation and Collaboration for a better Public Value

Track chairs: Fatemeh Ahmadi Zeleti and Grace Walsh

Technology has enabled our world to become increasingly connected, traditional physical boundaries either at a national level or an organizational level are becoming increasingly transcended in the digital world. The public value potential that can be garnered from collaboration far outweigh the competitive advantage outcomes emerging as a result of siloed competition. Opening government and the concept of open data encapsulates much more than freely available information; it signifies an innovative, collaborative, and progressive government; indicating transparency and trustworthiness. Structural changes, including system architecture, technology infrastructure and organizational structures, may be needed to allow institutions, governments, organizations, and communities to collaborate and co-create beyond traditional boundaries. This systematic change enables open data to mature and contribute to public value creation. However, for open data to unlock its full potential it needs to facilitate collaborative initiatives, engaging open data as the foundation upon which to build innovative solutions and contribute to public value. This track examines the challenges, opportunities, and potential outcomes emerging from the use of open data, data technologies, and infrastructures as a means for collaboration to deliver increased public value.

TRACK 5. Security and AI Ethics for the Next Wave of Data-driven Society

Track chairs: Kwon Hun-Yeong, Kim Mi-Ryang, Ko Yoon-Seok

This track seeks to hold comprehensive discussion on the role of the government and human resources, required expertise, legal frameworks and policies needed to deal with ethical and data security issues arising from the use of data and AI to build a safe intelligent information society which may become the goal of public value. In today’s society, technologies such as data and AI have become the enablers of innovation and also have become an intrinsic part of our civilization everywhere. In order to create public value when we cannot see with our eyes the achievements of such effort, we need to innovate not only the related law and regulations but also the role of the government and its human resource as well as strengthen its expertise. In particular, diverse discussions on the various regulations for data security and ethical issues related to AI are already prevalent as such issues will very likely manifest themselves unseen. In the near future in our intelligent information society, technology and ethical awareness will become standards or code of conduct and develop into some form of regulation or law based on broader consensus thus deepening their relationship to each other. The topics of this track are, but not limited to: data security, privacy protection, cybersecurity, data ethics, AI ethics, professional ethics, ethical standards and frameworks, etc.

TRACK 6. Beyond Bureaucracy: Participatory Online Politics and the Future of E-democracy

Track chairs: Zach Bastick and Alois Paulin

The “Beyond Bureaucracy” track explores innovations in e-government and e-democracy that place the citizen at the center of governance. While traditional lines of inquiry at the intersection of politics and technology focus on enhancing or supporting existing political institutions, there is an underexplored opportunity for citizens to use technology to control government more directly. Internet optimists have long anticipated new, digital models of self-governance, including representative, direct, liquid, anarchic models. Critics have argued that technology cannot safely or desirably support greater citizen involvement. This track covers all aspects of direct, futuristic, radical, exploratory, and critical approaches to digital governance. These include the (un)desirability of using technology to support citizen self-governance; challenges to self-governance through technology; theoretical and empirical proposals; assessments of technologies to support models of governance (AI, IoT, blockchain, 5G, platforms); the impact of developing digital phenomena on self-governance (misinformation, bots, digital collective intelligence); and the ethical, technological, social, and political implications of existing and potential future models of public governance. The “Beyond Bureaucracy” serves as a platform for pro/contra deliberations on the near and distant potentials of e-democracy.

TRACK 7. Inclusive and Resilient Smart Cities

Track chairs: Leonidas Anthopoulos, Dongwook Kim, and Soon Ae Chun

This year we have witnessed the unprecedented public health, social justice issues ingrained in the society, and natural disasters that affected citizens around the world. Smart Cities should consider not only smart growth, social coherence, and industrial transformation of cities by adopting cutting edge technologies, but also resilience, efficiency and competitiveness, to lessen social discriminations and to improve local quality of life. Inclusive and Resilient Smart Cities should ensure that key smart city innovations support infrastructure to enhance citizens’ equal access to public and utility services considering their diversity, digital readiness and resource limitations, while it can generate early alerts and enable disaster monitoring, epidemic surveillance and infrastructure redundancy to respond and recover quickly. This track invites research and practices in inclusive and resilient smart cities, addressing topics such as enhancing diverse digital skills toward digital maturity; making the citizens data and digital service prosumers; bringing the local community closer to the local digital transformation and generate new jobs; enabling collaboration and governance that make everyone understand its role and commit in this transition that transforms smart cities to intelligent spaces resilient to adverse events.

TRACK 8. Collaborative Intelligence: Humans, Crowds, and Machines

Track chairs: Helen K. Liu, Benjamin Clark, and Lisa Schmidthuber

The collaborative intelligence track aims to investigate how human, crowd, and machine can complement each other to enhance public services and policies, such as healthcare services, citizen-government communication, bias and discretion reduction, smart city planning, etc. Moreover, crowdsourcing has been recently adopted for generating information, providing public services, and resolving public problems, and artificial intelligence (AI) is now capable of learning, classifying, and detecting data sources and inputs. However, while the adoption of AI may enhance the citizens’ participation experience, there are potential ethical issues and implementation challenges in designing an optimal collaborative intelligence that includes both human collective intelligence and artificial intelligence. The collaborative intelligence track invites researchers and practitioners to accumulate scholarly papers that explore the interactions of human, crowd, and/or machine. Possible topics include strategies for collaborative intelligence or platforms in the public sector, designs for machine and human interaction in public services or policy making, comparisons of outputs and bias from AI, experts, and/or collective intelligence, values in collaborative intelligence management and governance, best practices of collaborative intelligence in the public sector, ethical concerns or guidelines for applying collective intelligence, or other similar topics and relevant approaches.

TRACK 9. Digital Transformation in Subnational Governments

Track chairs: Beatriz Barreto Brasileiro Lanza, Thiago José Tavares Ávila, and Maria Alexandra Cunha  

Digital transformation has become an essential part of the government’s strategic agenda, both at national and sub-national levels. However, digital transformation initiatives at the sub-national level tend to present specific aspects when compared to national initiatives. On the one hand, this track highlights the particular challenges faced by subnational digital transformation initiatives. On the other hand, it seeks to understand the capacities supporting the digital transformation at the subnational level. The track’s objectives are: a) to identify real-world examples/cases of digital transformation projects at the subnational levels; b) seek to explain this cases in the context of existing or new theoretical frameworks, and, c) create actionable recommendations for researchers, professional developers, and digital government practitioners at the sub-national level. Possible topics include but not limited to: citizen’s digital and secure identification; protection of users’ personal data; transparency, openness and sharing of governmental data; new technologies such as artificial intelligence or blockchain; co-creation of digital services; social participation mechanisms; collaborative governance.

TRACK 10. Organizational Factors, Adoption Issues and Digital Government Impacts

Track Chairs: Jing Zhang, Chris Hinnant, and Lei Zheng

The adoption and implementation of new ICTs by public organizations have been influenced by organizational factors such as the availability of resources (i.e. funding, infrastructure, technological knowledge, and personnel), leadership, trust, stakeholder involvement, organization’s structure and culture, as well as inter-organizational dynamics. Similarly, the adoption of ICTs in government and society has generated important impacts on the organizational processes, effectiveness, and innovativeness of public organizations, as well as the smartness of the government and the society. This track solicits research that examines the organizational factors that influence the adoption and implementation, and impact of new and emerging innovative technologies such as smart city, artificial intelligence, data analytics, big data, open data, social media, citizen-centric technologies, and other novel technologies that rely on open and large data sets. Furthermore, this track seek research on the adoption of innovative policies or practices that seek to facilitate the strategic use of various ICTs by public organizations.

TRACK 11. Cyber-physical Innovations for Public Policy and Service

Track chairs: Sukumar Ganapati, Michael Ahn, and Chengyu (Victor) Huang

This track welcomes contributions to cyber-physical systems’ (CPS) innovations that transform public policies and service. CPS are engineered systems that are built from, and depend upon, the seamless integration of computation and physical components. Cyber-physical technologies include the type and collection of data (e.g. big data from IoT sensors), connectivity (e.g. 5G network and mobile devices), infrastructure (cyberinfrastructure and distributed computing), unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones), autonomous vehicles (AVs), artificial intelligence for intelligent decision-making, and sharing economy platforms. The track’s primary aim is to examine these technologies through the lens of public values such as efficiency, effectiveness, equity, and ethics. Examples of relevant topics include but are not limited to evidence based policy-making, cyberinfrastructure for scientific innovations, innovative uses of UAS and AVs for public service, civic innovations, online community engagement, cross-sector collaboration, ethical use of CPS in governance, equitable public service delivery, and knowledge representation for policy analysis. This track invites submission of theoretical as well as empirical research papers of how CPS impact governance mechanisms.

TRACK 12. Automation of Public Services – Concepts, Practice, Implications and Emerging Perspectives

Track chairs: Ida Lindgren, Christian Østergaard Madsen, and Ulf Melin

The scope of what we can automate has widened; processes that have previously been considered as ‘cognitive’, and thus in need of human involvement or discretion can now be performed, at least theoretically, by machines. However, what automation entails for public service, conceptually and empirically, is still unclear. On the technical level, automation is used to denote systems of various complexity, e.g., systems integration, RPA, and AI. Similarly, these technologies can be used to automate a large variety of different public service activities and processes. In addition, many technical and legal issues related to data sharing that have previously hindered automation are slowly being resolved, resulting in new venues for automation. Looking at the wide spread of potential application areas for automation in public service, we lack a nuanced language in the digital government community to further our understanding of the nature and implications of automation of public service. In this track, we seek conceptual and empirical papers that can deepen our understanding of what increased automation of public service will bring for public organizations, and society at large.

TRACK 13. Digital Government and Sustainable Development Goals

Track Chairs: Rony Medaglia and Gianluca Misuraca

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are shaping the global agenda in multiple areas, including public opinion, policy, and research. Digital government can act as an enabler to sustainability, equity and social inclusion that represents a cross-cutting objective across several SDGs at both sectoral and horizontal level, with a crucial importance in particular for the goal 16 that aims to ´Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels´. This track invites contributions focusing on the potential benefits and challenges of digital government in supporting the achievement of SDGs and the role of digital technologies to sustain policy developments at both horizontal and sectoral level, including in particular the impact on democratic innovation and institutional reforms of governance systems. We invite studies on the design, management and evaluation of policies and implementation of digital government strategies in relation to the UN SDGs at global, national and local level. Papers that can combine methodological rigour with practical relevance and policy implications are particularly welcome.

TRACK 14. Blockchain-based applications for e-Government

Track Chairs: Jolien Ubacht, Svein Ølnes, Lemuria Carter, and Ramzi El-Haddadeh

In the past years, researchers and practitioners have highlighted the potential of Blockchain (BC) and distributed ledger technology (DLT) to revolutionize government processes. Transactions and information exchange between governmental organizations (G2G), between business and government (B2G) as well as between governments and citizens (G2C) can be transformed by using blockchain-based applications. These applications can improve the efficiency of information exchanges (e.g. leading to less fraud and less mistakes than paper-based registrations) and can contribute to an inclusive society (e.g. by means of digital identities). However, due to its characteristics of peer to peer information exchange, its distributed nature and the still developing technology, the implementation of blockchain-based applications requires solid analysis of the entire information chain, including the involved stakeholders and extant information architectures. In addition, blockchain initiatives have implications for citizen trust, privacy, inclusion and participation that need to be addressed in the design of the blockchain based applications. This track invites research that explores the impact and potential of blockchain based applications in G2G, B2G and C2G processes that illustrate their contribution to public services and the creation of public values. We welcome a diversity in research designs, approaches and methodologies.

TRACK 15. Legal Informatics

Track Chairs: Peter Parycek, Charalabidis Yannis, and Anna-Sophie Novak

The application of ICT technologies in the administrative and legal field pose great challenges for both technicians and legal professionals. Additionally, there is the question of how these applied technologies can and/or must be legally regulated. Many of these technologies rely on the use of large amounts of data. In this context, questions arise as to how data usage might be regulated in order to generate the greatest possible benefit for society. With these challenges in mind, we invite papers on the legal, technical, ethical, theoretical and practical questions that arise within the multidisciplinary field of legal informatics. This track invites research and practices concerning the theory and interdisciplinary foundations for the use of artificial intelligence techniques in the legal domain, legal implications of big data applications (challenges to privacy, autonomy, governance, equity, and fairness), a legislative framework for legal informatics on a European and national level and better regulation. Specific interest areas include the field of privacy (policies, regulations, strategies, recommendations), models of legal and ethical knowledge, including concepts (legal ontologies), rules, cases, principles, values, procedures and society models, legal interactions of autonomous agents and digital institutions and applications and use cases (implementations of legal informatics systems under realistic conditions).