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Details - Civic Innovation Platform

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  • Round 2

The second award ceremony

On 8 February 2022, Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Hubertus Heil, awarded the twelve winning ideas of the second round of the ‘AI is what we make it!’ idea contest organised by the Civic Innovation Platform. The panel of experts chose the most promising project drafts for AI applications for the common good in the four areas of ‘Participating with AI’, ‘Further training with AI’, ‘Working with AI’ and ‘Thinking ahead with AI”. The awarded teams will be supported both financially with prize money of up to €20,000 and through a series of workshops that are intended to help them develop their ideas further.

At the hybrid event at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Federal Minister Heil stated that the idea contest aims to achieve the social and fair application of AI as a technology of the future.

‘Progress is not just about what is technologically feasible and economically desirable. It is about harnessing the opportunities of digitalisation in a way that benefits society.’

In addition to asserting that the opportunities presented by digitalisation for the common good must be embraced in order to ‘translate technological progress into social progress’, the minister explained that the idea contest aims to ‘ignite a new flame of technological, digital, social and sustainable innovation.’ Comparing technology to democracy, Minister Heil stated that social progress can emerge onlywhen different actors from diverse backgrounds come together and pool their skills.

Various AI applications for the common good distinguished

Moderators Tanja Samrotzki and Mads Pankow highlighted that in order for technological progress to make a meaningful contribution to the common good, we must ‘lower the digital kerb’. This is achieved above all by the winning ideas in the areas of ‘Participating with AI’ and ‘Further training with AI’. Ideas in the third area ‘Working with AI’ focus on the potential of AI to support and relieve people in their daily work. Finally, ideas in the fourth area of ‘Thinking ahead with AI’ open up a space for thought on how AI-based technologies can expandour horizon and create new opportunities in the co-creative interaction between humans and technology. In their commendations, the members of the panel of experts

  • Jana Klawitter (Federal Association of Non-statutory Welfare – BAGFW),
  • Jannis Gilde (Bundesverband Deutsche Startups e.V.),
  • Anika Krellmann (Kommunale Gemeinschaftsstelle für Verwaltungsmanagement KGSt) and
  • Andreas Schuller (Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO)

praised the focus on the common good, as well as the creativity of the project drafts, and offered their views on what made these idea pitches successful.

Want to find out more? Click here for insights into the prize-winning ideas in the second round.


A creative interplay of AI and art

Poetry Slammer and Psychologist Pauline Füg provided both entertainment and food for thought in her programme ‘BOT or NOT’, in whichh two poems written by Füg herself went head-to-head with pieces written by the Megatron AI. After reading the texts, Füg put the four texts to a digital vote for the audience. Federal Minister Heil, the presenters and the audience were asked to guess which texts were written by the slammer and which were the product of AI. 

The supporting programme also featured Kaleidofon, one of the winning ideas from the first round of the idea contest, which demonstrates how AI can be used to enable fully inclusive communal music-making. In this application, AI translates and amplifies the speech input of people with physical disabilities into electronic music, opening up endless potential for creative development.

Driving collective and networked innovation processes

After the ceremony, State Secretary Lilian Tschan and digital expert Geraldine de Bastion joined participants from the first round to discuss the preconditions of innovation processes. Lilian Tschan emphasised that the ministry itself would adopt a cross-departmental approach to accompany the initiated processes as a learning stakeholder and that an important first step had been taken with the establishment of the platform. De Bastion stated that social innovations are value-based and participatory, and actively involving citizens in the process is a prerequisite for the betterment of society.

In keeping with this spirit, the networking workshop brought the event to a perfect close, bringing the award-winning project teams together in a digital speed-dating format. The workshop thus served as the prelude to a series of further workshops in which experts will share their knowledge on topics such as concept development, data protection and accessibility with the teams. The aim is to support them in the further development of their project ideas into workable concepts.

Do you have an idea how AI applications could be used to improve our society? Then register, find project partners and submit your project draft in the next round of the idea contest!