The ITHACA initiative is dedicated to leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) for the betterment of democratic institutions. Our focal point: the creation of an online discussion platform that encapsulates human and social perspectives. This platform, set to be piloted in Romania and Slovakia, aims to amplify democratic processes through inclusivity.

How do we intend to achieve this? Through collaboration with representatives from vulnerable groups, we aim to infuse their unique insights into the platform’s design. These individuals, possessing deep expertise and daily interactions with citizens, offer invaluable perspectives on digital tools, inclusion, and civic participation needs.

Our project’s activities have been diverse and impactful:

Online Discussions: In July 2023, the ITHACA consortium organized an online discussion with representatives of vulnerable social groups. Given their expertise and daily interactions with citizens, the representatives possess valuable insights into the digital tools, inclusion, and civic participation needs of these groups. Their contributions will be integral in shaping a more inclusive platform.

Introductory Workshops: September 2023 marked the initiation of workshops in Martin and Brasov. Here, engaging conversations and co-creation activities were conducted with a citizens’ jury. The objective: to comprehend citizens’ needs, preferences, and the landscape of available technologies, while also identifying motivations and potential barriers to online civic participation. Equally critical was ensuring the equitable integration of AI tools without adverse outcomes.

Recent Workshops: December 2023 saw further workshops in the pilot cities. The focus shifted towards assessing the societal impacts of AI.

Citizens engaged in discussions encompassing:

  1. AI risks and potential problems: Analyzing potential problems and risks associated with AI in civic participation.
  2. Understanding Bias and its implications.
  3. Impact of Bias on daily lives and attitudes.
  4. Mitigating Bias: Recognition and action.
  5. Exploring Ethics and fundamental rights. Ethical AI principles and how to achieve them.

During these workshops, participants delved into discrimination, ethical values, fundamental rights, and shared personal experiences. Collaborative working groups addressed ethical concerns, perceptions of vulnerability, and the broader societal impact of public and digital discourse.

The invaluable insights gathered from these discussions will play a pivotal role in shaping the design and development of our online discussion platform.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the Europe Research Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.