Workshop on Democratising Tools in AI and Conversational Interfaces

At Internet Age Media Weekend 2017 in Barcelona, SPACE10 and RWATGG did a workshop on how we can design and build democratising tools in AI and conversational interfaces

The third IAM Weekend was celebrated under the theme: “The Renaissance of Utopias” – bringing together more than 30 speakers and 300 participants from more than 20 countries in Barcelona.

“After an expected revival of the term utopia, thanks to the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s book of the same name being celebrated this year with exhibitions, discussions and events around the globe, utopias emerge as a useful and provocative tool to invent better futures in the internet age. What if we use utopias as a verb?”

SPACE10 was present to do a talk on the developments and ethics on AI, and to launch Do You Speak Huaman? – a world-wide survey on democratising the development of AI. In order to engage further with the community, SPACE10 teamed up with Relax, We Are The Good Guys, to do a workshop on using conversational interfaces and AI to democratise a specific area and co-create a better future in the internet age. The focus was on:

  • How to best make use of Conversational interfaces
  • What Democratising Tools means for us
  • How to bring your aspirations for democratising tools to life

With Do You Speak Human?, SPACE10 is asking people how they feel about AI and what they expect from it — in essence seeking to democratise the development of AI. But democratisation of AI is not necessarily all about data and computation. It’s also about where it lives and what form it takes.

We took the opportunity to elevate the subject and tasked the participants to identify areas in the digital or analogue world that they felt needed to be democratised and create a tool enriched by AI that enables democratisation of that area.

To get the ideation going we did some inspirational sessions where we showcased examples on areas and tools, like Conversational Form and Comment Everywhere. Tools that actively attempts to democratise the areas of web interfaces and communication platforms by acting as enablers and meaningful tools for the many people. 

In the following we share with you all the creative tools, that the brilliant and postive minds developed during the workshop at IAM in Barcelona — we thank all of the participants for sharing.

As a tribute to IAM and their aphorism “In Randomness We Trust” we have pulled out keywords for each tool and created random collages from Flickr, enjoy!

Area: Species Intercommunication 
Tool: Platform

SER-ES is a digital/analog platform that allows communication between different species in order to raise awareness of their being.

It was born from the idea that all species should be able to live in harmony, sharing a common language that strives empathy and unity, eliminating the slavery that the dominant species exerts on the other.

SER-ES is created by Hiram Aragón & Joan Noodapera


Area: Media 
Tool: Chrome extension

People are stuck in media bubbles, looking only for the familiar narratives. It’s increasingly polarising people, creating an environment of demonisation of opposing views.

Burst is a Chrome extension that detects the media users’ political views and feeds them opposing opinions in a neutral tone, highlights promoted content and detects fake news.

The AI/machine learning is used to determine whether or not the content we offer is in fact successfully broadening their minds by placing them in groups and analysing how they react to different types of tone, text length, data-heaviness, and whether or not the content we’re offering is empathetical or not.

We could also analyse visual and textual material to understand if there’s any product placement or if the presented information is based on facts.

Burst is created by Cameron Rohani & Laura Noodapera


Area: Communication
Tool: Website / plugin

We are overwhelmed with data and information. However, often we don’t empathise with the data because it is not communicated in a proper way.

We only truly understand something when we can relate it to something we already understand

We all have read information like “More than 20,000 Acres have been burnt in…”, or “ Corruption in Spain has caused a loss of public funds of 7,500 millions of euros…”

Are these units, something we can relate to? Can we understand them? Instead why don’t we measure areas in football fields? Or others wealth in our own salaries?

is in essence a website that allows you to convert any measurement by using units that can be technically standardised or in the other way, democratically standardised. 
By using the Democratic Unit Converter you will be able to convert measurements from any unit A to a unit B of your taste. 

It can be a very practical tool but it can also be playful.

How fast is my  measured in cats?

There will be also a plugin that will help you translating inline the info you are reading in any website to you preferred units (or others).

bring context awareness in the tools and suggesting you the units that most probably are useful to you or others. The random option will be also be there for sure!

Democratic Unit Convertor is created by Miquel SantasusanaJordi Ros

Area: Social projects
Tool: Chatbot

I’m your [city] is a collaborative platform designed to improve the citizens’ influence in shaping their city, easily submitting new projects and contributing to the existing ones. Taking the form of a personified city chatbot, it starts with “Hi, I’m your [city]. I don’t feel very well recently, could you please help me?” and aims to evoke empathy. 

It leads the citizen through the process, asking both personal questions and those about the city. At the end it suggests possible ways of engagement: organisations connected with the issue, volunteering and support centres or actions organised independently through the platform. If the problem or issue isn’t possible to identify, it asks you questions and helps to describe and submit a new project. 

When the user types anything racist or inappropriate in any other way, the chatbot works also as an educational tool, suggesting articles, arguments or institutions. 

Integration of decentralised options for organising social actions and makes it easier and more accessible than merely participatory budgeting by democratising the process of organising/taking part in social projects in your local area.

I´m your [city] is created by Ewa Winiarczyk & Jorge Oliveira

Area: Media
Tool: Virtual Interface

We live in a world where our futures are in the hand of politicians. But do we really know who they are? And are they really held accountable?

Our solution:
We have designed an interface (crystal ball — virtual interface) where people can scan a picture/name or use an Audio of a politician in order to identify them and present you all the information you need to know about them. This helps societies have a ‘Real Democracy’. Knowing true and complete facts and figures about those that make decisions that affect us

How does the platform work?
Politicians are recognised using facial/voice recognition technology, or simply by their name? Following this a a projected hologram of a crystal ball of information is in front of the user. This ball is interactive, you can spin it around (virtually). It uses AI technology to scan all articles and related information to that specific politician, presenting this with red and green flags, based on the mood of the information i.e if there are red flag conflicts of interest, red flags of tax evasion and nepotism, as well as green fags of policies delivered that helped the world, sustainability etc.

By having this as a crystal ball — virtual interface- the projection of information (may be from a wearable tech) is gamified in a way that makes all people want to interact with it, thus being overall more informed as a society- putting our crosses in the right boxes. And politicians become accountable, almost having to answer questions that indirectly get posed by these AI ‘searches’.

CrsyTell is created by Shafqat Mehmood & Romayne Gadelrab

Area: User Data
Tool: Plug-in for devices

Aim: awareness tool for visualising the worth of personal data to different entities (companies, websites,…)

The tool analyses the data points that are relevant to a specific company and researches how this data becomes revenue to it. The tool also learns about the behaviour and profile of the user through reverse data collection.

The user creates a user account (similar to a google account) that links through all the platforms used by him/her.

When there is a possible usage of your data being detected the tool notifies you about it by crating a report in the shape of a recipe (example: Facebook recipe). It asks you if you want to continue with your action while also providing you with data obfuscation tips.

At the end of the day the tool would provide you with a report informing you about your savings (acting as a data savings account — potentially making you feel better about yourself to preventing Netflix this day to earn 15 EUR with your data :)).

The tool could also be connected to the camera of the device informing the user of the possible entities that could be interested in the data collected from the users “non-digital” life (reference: google sofas tracking the users behaviour).

Worthstream is created by Tina Gorjanc & Andreu Belsunces

Area: Fashion Industry
Tool: Layer

A tool that works as a layer over a website, that allows people to add content upon fashion industry. It allows people to say what the brands are not telling about their policies or products without being censored.

Usually this conversation is happening in different channels over the web, not on the brands website, so it’s a way to hack into it and democratise this conversation. 

The AI helps to discover information that are spread over the web, and centralise it in one canvas, where user can add what they think too.”

Carbon Copy is created by Lais Kantor & Lorena (Ena Macana)

Area: Data
Tool: Layer

See the world through others

How can we generate empathy in us for people who are different from us? 

How can we use the digital footprint of various people to create digital identities we can relate to

Currently most companies like google, Facebook, snapchat, instagram, telecom companies, payment companies, etc have a monopoly and have access to this data but what if this data was more public?

Can AI help pull stories and insights of people that we are trying to design for? Can AI tell us how they look, what they like, what are their emotions, their, needs, their wants, their challenges or even their fears? How can we get access to data we wouldn’t get through surveys and user research.

Morph is a tool that recognises the need to know our users deeper. It helps us know them better through the history of their digital activities. These user or digital identities can be showcased as hard data for the brands, designers, entrepreneurs and marketeers or stories, faces and conversations for people to discover and empathise with human being on the other side of the globe!

Morph is created by Mrinali Kamath & Knut Harald Longva

Area: Ownership of DNA (cyber security issue)
Tool: Brain Interface

A brain interface that uses your DNA to help you optimise your health throughout your life, while you retain complete control over your personal medical information. The interface is artificial, but you are the intelligence. The DNA information retained on the interface is private and protected with blockchain technology.

Vault works to retain tangible ownership and control over your medical information. It reduces hypochondriac tendencies and allows for more accurate medical diagnosis.

Vault is created by Isabel Serval & Joshua Hayes Davidson

Area: Algorithms
Tool: Algorithm modulator

Algorithms chose the content we are exposed to. What if we could modulate the algorithms we are confronted with? What if we could democratise how algorithms operate

MyFeed is an algorithm modulator for news feed and social media platforms, allowing you to refine the filters you look through. When you launch the plugin, it will show you the current “default” parameters that are used by the platform’s own algorithm. You can then move the sliders towards the preferred parameters.

The modulation remains generic, to avoid going down the vicious circle of the algorithm showing you a biased and repetitive content.

The AI could enrich the tool by preventing you from creating patterns: it will scan your use of the sliders and the kind of content you have been exposed to, and suggest alternative parameters.

MyFeed is created by Annelise Keestra & Yves Laurent Sondji Mulanza Kating

Moving forward on exploring this topic RWATGG are creating a platform for the tools they co-create with the postive progressive people that they are meeting along the way and actively work towards democratising people’s time enabling them to take themselves out of the the attention economy equation.

Next workshop with RWATGG is June 15th at the MADE IN SPACE Festival. Make sure to join us!

MADE IN SPACE, is a hybrid event merging the magic of a festival with the depth of a conference and the experience of a lab.

Flæsketorvet 10
1711 Copenhagen V