Predictive AI technologies for migration governance: An ITFLOWS EUMigraTool Symposium

International migration governance, increasingly a policy priority, is a complex field involving multiple actors, by virtue of the varied and multilevel nature of global migration networks. In light of globalisation processes and technological innovation, predictive artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have been identified as promising new methods or tools in managing future migration (Bijak 2016, Beduschi 2020). The feasibility and effectiveness of predictive tools and projects for migration governance require extensive assessment and consideration with regards to legal compliance, adequate data and methods, actual AI architecture, and how and who manages them (European Commission 2020, Carammia et al. 2020).

Within the EU, several inquiries, projects and technologies related to predicting migration are already in development, particularly to address mixed migration flows (Szczepanikova & Van Criekinge 2018, Sohst & Tjaden 2020). Such flows are characterised by their irregular nature (often in breach of regulatory norms of countries of origin, transit and destination), and consist of a mix of migratory populations including groups of refugees, asylum-seekers, economic migrants and others. EU institutions, Member States, regional governments and relevant stakeholders are concerned with both the flows arriving by land and sea to EU external borders, as well as movements between internal EU borders.

In this context, the EUMigraTool Symposium, hosted by the EU Horizon 2020 funded ITFLOWS project, will consist of a discussion on predictive AI and migration management. The ITFLOWS project is developing its own prediction-based IT tool, the “EUMigraTool” (EMT). An EU representative will provide a Keynote Speech to kick off the panel, which will include ITFLOWS Coordinator Cristina Blasi of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), technical lead Georgios Stavropoulos of the Greek Centre for Research and Technology (CERTH), and Paola Maieli of Red Cross Italy (CRI).

The expert conversation will be followed by a panel composed of early stage or interested researchers presenting their individual papers. This Call for Papers invites submissions of papers exploring predictive AI for migration governance, included but not limited to the current state of the art, new methods and tools, and projects or case studies both within and outside of the EU. Those selected to participate will also be invited to form part of a special issue in a relevant, peer-reviewed journal. To apply, please submit a (maximum) 450-word abstract, with 5 keywords and a title, by 1 July 2021 to colleen.boland@uab.cat. Further specifics as to paper requirements will be provided to the authors of selected abstracts by 15 July 2021. Conference presenters will be confirmed and updated on the ITFLOWS website by September 2021.

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