Updated: Mar 7
The widespread use of information technologies and the increasing ability to easily share information and news online has paved the way for new challenges to our democratic society. The sharing of false information on social media, even when unintended, is a threat to democracy. It is therefore a necessity that we as a society can identify false and misleading information when navigating different sources of information and news and thus become empowered as active citizens of democratic societies. This is our goal at TITAN, an EU-funded project aiming to create an innovative AI-based system that assists citizens to critically reflect upon information and news they encounter in their everyday life. The TITAN-system will, through an intelligent coaching chatbot, help develop the users’ ability to assess if something is disinformation.
TITAN believes that citizens must be engaged in the fight against fake news, and is using a series of co-creation workshops centered around the topic of disinformation to capture opinions, experiences and information that can help create a more democratic and truthful society. By bringing diverse groups of people with different experiences, skills and backgrounds together, more creative and innovative solutions to the challenge of identifying disinformation may be unlocked.
The workshops follow three phases.
In the first phase, TITAN will co-create with citizens in order to ensure alignment with societal values. In this phase, we will engage with a wide range of experts related to artificial intelligence (AI), news consumption, social media and more.
In the second phase, we will narrow our focus and engage with potential users through different use cases. This approach helps us to adapt the TITAN-system to different specific user needs.
In the third and last phase, the outcomes will be tested in different pilots. The pilots will ensure TITAN’s functionality and performance and ensure it is ready to launch in a demo version in 2024.
Source: Image from LinkedIn Garvit Gulati's post of the Cork Business School workshop
The outcomes of the first co-creation citizen workshops serve as input for the early development of the TITAN solution as well as providing an opportunity for collaborative learning where participants can benefit from each others experiences. Capturing opinions and thoughts at this stage means a) participants can feel a greater sense of responsibility for the developing solution, and b) innovation will be able to accommodate the different desires and worries expressed by the potential end users. ultimately encouraging innovative thinking and experimentation around ideas that may not have been considered otherwise.
Source: Image from Science for Change Twitter account
The co-creation workshops are being held in multiple locations across Europe and are open to participants with a wide range of backgrounds. No prior experience is necessary for participation. Last week separate workshops in Denmark, run by the Danish Board of Technology, in Ireland, run by Cork University Business School, and in Spain by Science for Change, engaged people in discussions about encountering fake news and false information, how an AI conversational agent could assist them, and whether there are any privacy or ethical concerns related to the use of data and AI.
Results will be analysed, and shared, upon conclusion of the entire first round of workshops this Spring, but (unofficial) preliminary findings show:
Citizens want to know what data is used for in the AI system
Citizens want to know who is behind the TITAN services
Citizens want to have control of data/ flexibility in the way they can use the system
Its clear that transparency is an important aspect of the TITAN system, and that users will need to have a clear understanding of how AI is making coaching decisions that affect them, so they can use the chat agent confidently knowing that the system is working ethically, without bias, and with clarity on who the developers and operators of the AI-system is. A focus on transparency will help build trust between the users and the AI-enabled chatbot.
Workshops are also being held in Lithuania, Belgium, Bulgaria and Slovakia.
Stay tuned for more insights. www.titanthinking.com