Is Publishing as Critical Infrastructure? Innovation, Creativity, and Resilience in an Age of Artificial Intelligence

Governments all over the globe are attempting to modernize and reform the regulatory frameworks situating digital communication systems. These changes will have profound implications for copyright owners, online services providers, consumers, and users of creative content at local, national, and global levels. And all of this is happening within a context of a techno-geo-political tussle between nations seeking to position themselves as we accelerate towards the epoch-defining rise of artificial intelligence as a core driver of economic development.

We call on scholarly research, policy interventions, and practitioners' case studies to consider publishing's place in this conversation. Is it a critical infrastructure on which society depends? If so, what are the inwards facing challenges of the profession? And, looking outwards, can this domain of cultural and professional practices advance thinking on critical infrastructure and community resiliency in general. To frame our conversations, we ask:

  • Does one size fit all? From social media platforms as de-facto publishers of the masses, scholarly communication as the gatekeeper of scientific integrity; trade publishers influencing public discourse – does the scope of the industry diffuse consideration of the weight of publishing as critical infrastructure?

  • Who defines fair access?

    Who guarantees access, and for what reasons? From public or private infrastructures, free to paid and countervailing tendencies within both, to building and bridging digital divides, considerations of disability and difference?

  • Considering data in our technological futures? What is the bargain around content with "information" company's circling in the masses of data publishers produce? To achieve machine-based intelligence, who needs who? And what does the causality here tell us about a future centered in language-based AI and machine learning?