Call for Presentations


Satisfaction Guaranteed? The Challenges of Automation in Survey Research

Thursday 11th May 2017, ORT House
126 Albert Street, London, NW1 7NE

First Announcement and Call for Presentations

Please note: the programme has now been announced and the call for presentations is now closed. 

Automation – ‘The use or introduction of automatic equipment in a manufacturing or other process or facility’ (OED)

Automation in the workplace is nothing new It has been around since the beginning of the industrial revolution.

What is new, however, is that developments in processing power, big data analysis and artificial intelligence mean that automation moved beyond the factory floor and routine office administration and is now ascendant in every aspect of the knowledge economy and even society. Questions about the legal rights and morality of sex with robots are now being raised as legitimate and serious concerns. Asimov’s Three Robotic Laws appear to have left the pages of fiction and are well on their way to a second reading.

Although the jury is still out as regards the ultimate consequences of the new automation for civilisation, the 250000 civil servants, the delivery drivers and the paralegal secretaries who are projected to lose their jobs may think that shape of the future is pretty clear.

The question for us is how is automation already affecting survey and opinion research, and where is it heading next?

The ASC’s next one-day conference will explore this theme from both business and technical perspectives. It will examine the drivers behind increased automation, as well as the impediments and limits to it, and will consider where automation might be taking us and what might be the consequences of these possible outcomes.

To help explore these issues, the ASC would like to hear from potential speakers and would welcome proposals for presentations or case-studies on any or all aspects of automation in survey research in which they have been involved, whether as champion or implementer, manager or developer, client or contractor. Although not exhaustive, topics that might be addressed include:

  • Automating the creation and testing of surveys
  • Real or experimental applications for ‘bots’ and ‘intelligent assistants’ in the interviewing process
  • Automating the management of research projects, sample administration, fieldwork administration and so on
  • Automating the analysis of data and report preparation
  • Applying machine learning techniques to the analysis and interpretation of research data
  • Experiences in managing change processes around introducing automation in research
  • Automating the presentation of information incorporating more complex data than traditionally found in surveys, such as implicit data, eye-tracking data, locational data etc.

Proposals from both a technical and business perspective will be welcomed. Synopses should be between 250 and 500 words in length, and sent by e-mail to Christine Jenkins, ASC Administrator to arrive no later than Friday 10th March 2017.

Please visit the ASC website to download our synopsis form and view the Guidance for Speakers page.

If you have any queries please contact

Key Dates

Friday 10th March – Final date for submission of proposals for presentations

Monday 20th March – Programme announced

Thursday 4th May – Final date for submission of final presentations

Thursday 11th May – Conference