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Visual Human-AI-partnerships for Civic Action


In the rapidly evolving landscape of AI, generative algorithms have emerged as a groundbreaking tool for computational creativity, producing human-like art, music, and even poetry. Yet, the true potential of this technology is realized when it converges with Human-Computer Interaction to form computational co-creativity. This synergy allows both experts and amateurs to guide the AI in generating creative outputs, thereby democratizing the creative process as seen with the recent breakthrough of ChatGPT and similar tools. Our focus extends beyond mere technological marvels to harness these AI capabilities for social good. In this proposal we combine science communication with the employment of generative AI, in part, as a facilitator for Community Citizen Science (CCS), a framework that embodies participatory democracy and community co-design (Hsu & Nourbakhsh, 2020). CCS aims to empower communities through outreach, education and involvement in science topics and research-based community action, thereby strengthening the bond between science and civil society.

As an example of this, in our work we have created Crea.visions, a project which harnesses the potential of AI image generation (e.g. text-to-image) technology to equip ordinary citizens with the ability to visually convey their thoughts and ideas regarding societal issues such as sustainability and climate change. Through this approach, our goal is twofold: firstly, to demonstrate that AI image generation tools possess the capacity to not only break down the barrier of skill requirement for effective expression, but also to function as a bridge for communication between governmental bodies and the public. This transformation transcends traditional modes of communication, moving from written letters and public forums to the impactful realm of visual representation. As the saying goes, "A picture says more than a thousand words."

Since its inception in 2020, Crea.visions has served as a platform for public empowerment through AI-assisted visual communication. With over 25,000 images generated by more than 1,000 participants, the platform has gradually evolved to address community-specific needs with increasing specificity.  Our journey began with a collaboration with the United Nations AI for Good and ArtBreeder, focusing on climate change awareness and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Subsequent versions have been deployed at various events, including the Danish People's Climate Summit 2021 and in Venice and Brussels in 2022. In January 2023, Crea.visions was featured in the international Learning Planet Festival, where participants generated images to address issues affecting Paris. In the spring and summer of 2023 a new version was launched to explicitly  address the "7 Wicked Problems" identified by Aarhus Municipality. Through workshops and exhibitions, we have engaged with schools and volunteer communities of Aarhus, showcasing nearly 1,000 images that tackle these complex issues.

Principal investigators