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CfA: Standardisation for (the Digital) Society

  • 1.  CfA: Standardisation for (the Digital) Society

    Posted 11-29-2021 02:19
    ***With apologies for cross-posting***


    The 20th Annual STS Conference Graz 2022 'Critical Issues in Science, Technology and Society Studies' will be held 2 - 4 May 2022 in Graz, Austria (Covid-19 or any successors permitting, that is).

    For a couple of years now the conference also includes a session related to standardisation research. This year's session title is 'Standardisation for (the Digital) Society'; you will find the description below. You may find more information about the event via

    The submission deadline for abstracts is 22 January 2022. Submissions must be made via
    So, get your pencil ready (ok, your keyboard, rather).


    *Standardisation for (the Digital) Society*

    Today, standards for the digital domain are developed mostly by engineers and computer scientists, typically employed by large companies. As a result, technical expertise and economic interests guide standardisation and thus technical development; societal issues are hardly considered (if at all). This is an untenable situation, especially considering the trend towards smart systems, AI and Machine Learning. These technologies have the potential to change society – for better or worse.

    "The shaping process [of a technology] begins with the earliest stages of research and development". Standardisation represents such an early stage. This suggests to exploit the standards setting process to also contribute broader, non-technical (e.g. societal, environmental, legal and ethical) expertise to the standardisation of particularly the above technologies. This, in turn, requires active contributions from an additional broad range of stakeholders including citizens, NGOs, unions, (local) administrations as well as e.g. lawyers, sociologists and philosophers.

    This session solicits contributions that discuss aspects of such a 'Responsible Standardisation' from both a practical and a theoretical perspective. Potential topics include but are not limited to:

     * Possible contributions of societal stakeholders to standards
     * The role and representation of societal stakeholders in standardisation.
     * How to increase participation of societal stakeholders in standards
     * Legitimacy and influence of different players in standards development.
     * Potential ethical and legal issues in the standardisation of smart
       systems, AI and Machine Learning.
     * Social norms and their impact on standardisation.

    Kai Jakobs
    CoSc Dept.
    RWTH Aachen University
    Aachen, Germany