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MediaFutures, Data-driven innovation hub for the media value chain

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MediaFutures (MediaFutures, Data-driven innovation hub for the media value chain)

Reporting period: 2020-09-01 to 2021-08-31

Public opinion is increasingly formed online, based on content and narratives optimised for clicks rather than a balanced point of view and corroborating evidence. The media sector faces multiple challenges, such as fragmented audiences, polarised public engagement, growing distrust in our political or democratic institutions and shortening attention spans due to the abundance of free content. The shift from traditional media to content on social media and various other platforms makes it hard to detect and moderate deep fakes, hate speech and other harmful content. Initiatives to study the factual grounds of public claims have not yet reached critical mass and online tools to support fact checking and help make sense of data are still underdeveloped.
MediaFutures enables the co-creation of new approaches, experiences, technologies and novel moderation forms for social media platforms to detect and decrease the negative effects of deep fakes, hate speech and other forms of harmful content. Thus MediaFutures generates a digital innovation framework enabling entrepreneurs to address challenges in the media sector, while making data understandable via digital tools. MediaFutures' digital innovation framework includes funding, mentoring and support for novel entrepreneurial and creative initiatives to reshape the media value chain. Its participatory, inclusive innovation programme leverages impulses from multiple disciplines, and supports synergies between entrepreneurs and creatives.
The challenges of the 1st open call were generated by consortium and interdisciplinary experts. The support to applicants consisted in email support and 2 webinars with matchmaking options, followed by the review and selection process of proposals and signature of sub-grantee agreements. KPIs were monitored for the improvement of the 2nd Open Call. The acceleration of the MediaFutures Support Programme was designed by NMA in conjunction with the residency programme of IRCAM, offering a remote programme with individual and collective meetings, peer group and industry events, mentor and advisor sessions, taylormade training and coachings. Milestones, KPIs, and objectives were monitored via the three phases of the programme. The residency programme allowed frequent exchanges with the teams, progress updates, training and mentoring, milestones and KPIs assessed with the artists, and the creation of a dissemination network for showcase opportunities. The training catalogue of open source technologies and data sets, supported participants with data science experiments. The toolkit is in development, with set structure and interviews scheduled for complementary insights.

The communication and dissemination activities targeted relevant stakeholders and a wider audience with a focus on the 1st open call and 1st cohort. In its first year, MediaFutures reached out to more than 3 Mio. people via partners and network channels, mainly actors of the media value chain, independent artists, artistic and cultural organizations, tech and scientific community. The communication and dissemination strategy, project identity and tools (website, social media accounts, dissemination material, etc.) were set. The project actively networks with important initiatives (e.g. S+T+ARTS, BDVA), H2020 projects, and was presented in many events. The exploitation strategy and methodology to assess socio-economic, democratic and technological impacts was defined.

Clear project management framework, governance structure, collaborative infrastructure and reporting procedures are established. This includes administration activities, procedures and guidelines for activity planning and monitoring, cost and time management, preparation and timely submission of review reports and deliverables. Bodies and exchange formats are set up to facilitate decision making, progress and quality. Raised ethical issues, i.e. declaration of compliance, Ethics Risks, Data Protection Impact Assessment, were addressed. The data minimisation principle, technical, organisational and security measures, measures to protect freedom of speech for data subjects and participants were described and implemented.
The first cohort is completed by September 2021. Three start-ups of the SfC track and four start-ups of the SmA track ran through the MediaFutures Support Programme and reached the exhibit phase with their innovative solutions. The results and achievements were publicly presented and exhibited in the virtual Demo Day. A jury of external and internal experts assessed the result and selected a winner for each track. In its first year, MediaFutures drove nine artistic teams to the completion of their artworks. Those art projects question the use of media, data and technology in our daily lives. Through their artworks, this first cohort of artists lead the public to question their use of social media, the sources of their reading, their relation to technology. They demonstrate how deep fake news can be almost instantly created, and are highly persuasive, and provide solutions to exchange differently online. Interviews with artists were conducted to collect feedback so that the residency framework and methodology will be adjusted to maximise the programme outcomes, and benefit institutions interested in conducting artist-startup collaborations.

The dedicated impact assessment methodology is developed using a co-design approach, spurring exchange as per expected outputs, outcomes and impact and improvement potential. As per the impact assessment of supported initiatives, interviews were conducted with all projects teams and further data gathering (with semi-structured questionnaires) is undergoing. Project results, i.e. toolkit, mentoring, training, artworks, products, services, increased awareness of general public on societal issues, knowledge sharing and networks are self sustainable. Other results, i.e. product and service portfolio, community and ecosystem need to be sustained with further efforts and dedication. Preliminary plans to sustain these results will be refined, drawing on exploitation and sustainability plans. Results and impacts of the toolkit and experiments will materialise after the reporting period. The toolkit will be published in M18, incl. background, learnings and case studies on human data and AI interaction, legal and ethical questions, entrepreneurship, sustainable business models, citizen participation, science-art interfaces and innovation. It will facilitate knowledge transfer towards future programmes, inform future calls and policies, and increase the impact of the project. Experiments with our cohorts will contribute insights into the use of specialised apps and social media platforms for discussions and consensus; and the influence of deliberation in a structured digital environment on decision-making. Communicating project activities and outputs is of strategic importance to reach specific objectives and KPIs. The MediaFutures communication and dissemination strategy maximises its impact, taking into account diverse target groups and their specific background in terms of knowledge, context, motivation and potential uptake of various media. Important tools for this purpose are our website, publishing all MediaFutures outputs and presenting the funded projects, and the social media accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
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