Invitation to DIAC’s 2008 Conference on Online Deliberation
December 1st, 2007


The 2008 edition of the DIAC symposium (Directions and Implications of Advanced Computing) combines CPSR’s (Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility) 11th DIAC symposium with the third Conference on Online Deliberation. The event is also sponsored by UC Berkeley School of Information.

The goals of the Conference on Online Deliberation are set by tradition around developing — by ever improving socio-technological systems — the ability to discuss, work, make decisions, and take action collaboratively, in response to the changes that world’s societies are going through. Given the profound proportions of the changes that characterize the 21 century and the rise of the new communication technologies, this issue becomes even more important. A participation call is addressed to many key players in different, but connected fields and population segments: researchers, scholars, activists, advocates, artists, educators, technologists, designers, students, policy-makers, entrepreneurs, journalists and citizens.

Studying the interactions between technological and social systems (new communication technologies) in search of effective solutions for online deliberation, DIAC aims to accomplish its mission by a series of concrete results, such as “a platform and a forum for highlighting socio-technological opportunities, challenges, and pitfalls in the area of community and civic action” and “technology enhanced community action” ranging from informal communities of practice to democratic governance of formal organizations to large social movements.

Thus, the preliminary interest of the organizers is focused on “technology development that is already being tested or fielded, theoretical and other intellectual work that helps build understanding and support for future efforts.” In this concern, the emphasis is on social technology and the study of its major dimensions: the social context of technology, design, access, use, policy, evaluation, intellectual frameworks for technological and social innovation (requirements, case studies, critique and self-reflection, and infrastructures for future work).

Since the main purpose is to enhance the health and functionality of the social body in modern societies by inclusive, vivid and open dialog, supported by thoroughly and expertly designed communications systems, the area of focus of this conference is extremely complex, but the long list is worth of being mentioned in its entirety:

“…deliberative and collaborative systems, e-democracy and e-participation, mobilization and organization, negotiation, consultation, sustainability, community support systems, open source models, human rights, ecological awareness, conflict resolution, justice, transparency systems, media and civic journalism, media literacy, power research, citizen science, economic development and opportunity, peace and reconciliation, infrastructure development, policy, education, community networks, research and development for civil society, social software, virtual communities and civic intelligence….”

Paper and logistic contributions are expected: peer reviewed research paper and exploratory paper presentations, technology demonstrations, workshops and poster sessions, along with co-sponsors who can help provide various types of assistance, donations and other support (including volunteer labor). See the guidelines for papers and other submissions and additional information about the conference on the Public Sphere Project website.

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