Call for Papers: Special Issue on Socio-Technical Ecosystem Considerations: Threats and Opportunities for AI in Cybersecurity

By on October 5th, 2021 in Articles, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blog Posts, Call for Papers, Call for Papers, Ethics, Social Implications of Technology, Societal Impact, Transactions

The IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society has launched a call for papers for an upcoming on Socio-Technical Ecosystem Considerations: Threats and Opportunities for AI in Cybersecurity with a closing date of 01 February 2022.


New technology development and adoption of those new technologies continues to accelerate. We live today in a saturated, information environment with unprecedented dependence on digital technologies.

An element of the expansion of digital technologies is a shift in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology from research laboratories into the hands of anyone with a smartphone [[1]]. AI powered search, personalization and automation are being deployed across sectors, from education to healthcare, to policing, to finance. Wide AI diffusion is then reshaping the way organizations, communities and individuals’ function. [[2]].

The potentially radical consequences of AI have pushed nation states across the globe to publish strategies on how they seek to shape, drive and leverage the disruptive capabilities offered by AI technologies to bolster their prosperity and security [[3]].

In the context of new partnerships, and within existing alliances, these efforts can be seen as an opportunity for positive alignment so that governance and new capabilities create value for citizens’ well-being, privacy [[4]] and safety [[5]]. Those same national efforts to lead, nurture and sustain AI to transform citizens’ lives can also be viewed as a competition, or even as an international AI arm race undermining international stability [[6]].

Within the intelligence alliance of Five Eyes countries, policy initiatives for the governance of AI in the security and defense domains focus on potential security breaches, economic consequences, and political threats [[7]]. The relative disregard for social and environmental factors is problematic. This lack of attention may shape how AI could be used in cybersecurity for harm, beyond the organizational level, and systems of governance that may or may not respect the rule of law [[8]]. Furthermore, AI systems themselves introduce new targets for malicious actors.

There has been a resurgence within academia and associated specialist scientific institutes to investigate socio-technical factors (i.e., the interaction of people, tasks, structure, and technology) shaping cybersecurity. But there has still been limited focus on the complex external environment and dynamic socio-cyber-physical ecosystem [[9]].

The vast majority of security research relates to the traditional Confidentiality-Integrity-Availability (CIA) triad. While this strategy has continued to strengthen organizational and infrastructural defenses, we must consider the new emergent threats. These include: homogeneity in products at their core operating system, large storage area network providers and critical telecommunication exchanges and international banking interchanges, and the supply of electricity and water and the respective interdependencies therein [[10]]. Of particular importance are autonomous systems leveraging advanced machine learning systems that incorporate blackbox models (e.g., billion parameter neural networks), and highly complex technologies that may be microscopic and even embeddable and undetectable [[11]].

The socio-technical approach [[12]] is promising in this context, as it allows us to move beyond a particular system of interest and associated inputs, outputs and attack vectors to an open systems environment, at the heart of which is stakeholder centricity [[13]].

This special issue invites research focused on a deeper examination of value chain stakeholders [[14]], their roles and responsibilities and their corresponding dynamic interactions and interdependencies in the present turbulent environment [[15]]. Contributions to the special issue will focus a range of questions. For example, how do different federal and state laws, regulations, policies, guidelines and economic infrastructure shape the AI and cybersecurity landscape in an international context? How is AI and cybersecurity being applied as a potential global offset? How can cybersecurity specialists respond to these threats once they have been explicitly identified?

To this end, this special issue aims to bring together researchers from different disciplines exploring the intersections of socio-technical imaginaries, ethics, and the role of AI in cybersecurity as an exemplary crisis for inquiry and debate.

Important dates

  • Submissions open: Now
  • Submissions close: 1 February 2022
  • Publication of final issue: 1 September 2022
  • Please note, TTS subscribes to Pre-Print model of access. Once your paper is accepted it will appear online freely available with DOI until it is placed in the special issue in September 2022.



Submissions are especially invited on, but not limited to, the following topics intersecting with AI and/in Cybersecurity:

  • Responsible innovation and science and technology ethics [[16], [17]]
  • Science and technology policy, regulation, and governance [[18]]
  • Public understanding of and engagement with AI and cybersecurity [[19]]
  • Innovation processes [[20], [21]]
  • Algorithmic and technological biases and inequalities [[22]]
  • Impacts of AI and cybersecurity unleashed by nation states
  • Impacts of AI and cybersecurity on nascent wearable and implantable technologies [[23], [24], [25], [26]]
  • Socio-technical imaginaries, power, discrimination, contradiction [[27], [28], [29]]
  • Anticipatory/futures-literate approaches to the future of AI and cyber security [[30]]
  • The security of AI algorithms in a socio-technical context [[31]]
  • The role of scenarios, vignettes, stories and qualitative approaches to AI and cybersecurity understanding [[32], [33]]
  • Data/AI-driven cybersecurity for attack and defense [[34]]
  • Intelligence challenges related to AI and cybersecurity [[35]]
  • Holistic and exploratory approaches to AI- big picture national perspectives
  • Public interest technologies in AI and cybersecurity [[36]]
  • The role of regulation and or (soft)/laws on the future practices of AI, considering both national (e.g. governance of AI) and international (AI for defense) perspectives [[37], [38]]
  • The role of education and training in raising societal awareness of cybersecurity threats [[39], [40]]
  • Opportunities and challenges for socio-technical systems enhancement [[41]]

Submissions that will be considered out of scope include:

  • Work that does not address ethical or societal or environmental impacts of AI and/in cybersecurity
  • Formal methods research where a thematically targeted engineering journal would be more appropriate (e.g. in the field of signal processing or artificial intelligence or security)



How to Submit

For article formats, templates, and submission information, see

Submit your papers through  .

Guest Editors

Mariarosaria Taddeo, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, UK and Turing Fellow, Alan Turing Institute, UK

Paul Jones, National Cyber Security Center, UK

Roba Abbas, School of Business, University of Wollongong, Australia

Kathleen Vogel, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University, USA



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[9] Abbas, Roba and Katina Michael, 10 August 2020, “The Design and Implementation of the COVIDSafe App in Australia: A Socio-Technical Overview”, International COVID-19 Congress, IEEE Bangladesh Section, Dhaka, Bangladesh,

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[19] Michael, Katina and Roba Abbas, 10 August 2020, “Lessons from COVIDSafe: Toward Public Interest Technologies of the Future”, International COVID-19 Congress, IEEE Bangladesh Section, Dhaka, Bangladesh,

[20] Ellul, Jacques. 1962, “The technological order.” Technology and Culture, 3(4): 394-421.

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[33] Lively, Genevieve, Narratology, Oxford University Press, 2019.

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[36] Abbas, R., J. Pitt and K. Michael, “Socio-Technical Design for Public Interest Technology,” in IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 55-61, June 2021, doi: 10.1109/TTS.2021.3086260.

[37] Marchant, G.E., 2011. The growing gap between emerging technologies and the law. In The growing gap between emerging technologies and legal-ethical oversight (pp. 19-33). Springer, Dordrecht.

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[39] Kohno, T. and Johnson, B.D., 2011, March. Science fiction prototyping and security education: cultivating contextual and societal thinking in computer security education and beyond. In Proceedings of the 42nd ACM technical symposium on Computer science education (pp. 9-14).

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