Working to reconquer the internet for the public interest

Words by Geert-Jan Bogaerts

The internet has become an indispensable tool for modern society; we can’t imagine having to live without the convenience of internet-based applications that provide us with services like navigation, email, social interactions with our friends, information gathering and dissemination, document storage and search. But we also suffer from the fact that most, if not all, of these applications are built with only one goal in mind: to maximize profit for the company owning these applications. The end-user is a means, not an end.

The values that permeate the internet, are the values of Silicon Valley. Libertarian at heart, where the right of the strongest (or the richest, or the most capital-flush) prevails. And in those places where Silicon Valley does not rule, other values apply those of state-controlled applications, that see their users as objects that need to comply with state-given values. Think China, Russia, or a large part of the Arab world.

Continue reading

Towards Advanced Media Ecologies

Creative Cultures for Media Progression: An Unconference (13th June, Warsaw)

Written by Michał Głowacki and Lizzie Jackson

 

International media experts, representatives of cultural institutions, startup communities and Warsaw’s City Hall gathered in the city of Warsaw for an Unconference: “Creative Cultures for Media Progression”. The aim of the day was to discuss the need for changes to the organisational structures and partnership arrangements of public service media firms. The unconference format offers opportunities to explore new methods of exchanging and building knowledge.

 

The unconference was based in the Warsaw’s Praga regeneration district and run in collaboration with the City Hall. 50 scholars and industry attendees experienced a ‘World Café’ and ‘Fishbowl’ style debate. These are designed to promote inclusive speaking from everyone in response to initial provocations

Continue reading

Artificial Intelligence: Ethics and Regulations in the European Union

Written by: Seda Yılmaz, Mehmet Turgut, Müfit Yılmaz Gökmen, Begüm Yurttaş, Sibel Pekin, Renjani Puspo Sari, Luciano Morganti, Heritiana Ranaivoson

Artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of intelligent robots was a big hit in many movies back in the 90s. Now it is leaving the science fiction shelf and is quickly taking over many aspects of our lives. From fields like the financial sector, healthcare, education, transport, insurances, to specific applications like credit card transactions, Google translate, GPS, spam filters and Siri in iPhones, AI, or applications of it, is today pretty much everywhere even if we are not aware we are using it (or being used by it). AI is also seen as a big leap and a very profitable economic sector, so it receives more and more the attention of the public at large, the private and academic entities and governments and politics.

This rapid societal and economic uptake of AI comes with new and unforeseen challenges: what are the short and long-term effects on our society? How will AI change the dynamics of human life? How to regulate the imminent changes brought by a sector in dynamic transition and expansion? What happens and who pays the consequences if AI becomes malicious or if it simply leads to errors and mistakes?

Continue reading

AER 2018 Conference – Report

On Thursday, June 7th, 2018, the Association of European Radios – AER, organised a conference at the European Parliament stressing the important role played by radio in fighting against disinformation.

John Purcell (IBI President), moderator for the conference, welcomed the guests to the 2018 AER Conference. Mr Purcell stressed the difficulties faced by radio to guarantee its future in today’s world as technology is rapidly changing.

07 Jun 2018 - Brussels, Belgium - AER 2018 Conference. © Bernal Revert/ BR&U

Marlene Mizzi MEP (Member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament – S&D, Malta) outlined the work her team and her performed on the European Electronic Communications Code. She stressed that the legislators have managed to reach what seems to be an acceptable compromise for radios, pushing digital broadcasting in cars, whilst recognising that online is important and that FM is still the main door to access radio. In that sense, radio is essential for citizens as it enables them to reach a free and accessible medium, helpful in cases of disaster or to tackle fake news. This is why radio should maintain a good shape, through FM as it is currently the case.

 

 

Continue reading

Artificial Intelligence: the European Commission outlines a European approach to boost investment and sets ethical guidelines

by Guenaelle Collet

Europe has world-class researchers, laboratories and start-ups in the field of AI. The EU is also strong in robotics. However, fierce international competition requires coordinated action for the EU to be at the forefront of AI development.

On 25 April, the European Commission published a series of measures to boost Europe’s competitiveness in the field of AI. The Commission’s approach is three-fold: it aims to increase public and private investment in AI, prepare for socio-economic changes, and ensure an appropriate ethical and legal framework.

On the financial support front, the Commission is increasing its investment to €1.5 billion for the period 2018-2020 under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

As regards socio-economic challenges and changes to the job market, the Commission is encouraging Member States to modernise their education and training systems and support labour market transitions. The Commission will also directly support business-education partnerships to attract and keep more AI talent in Europe and set up dedicated training schemes with financial support from the European Social Fund. Proposals under the EU’s next multiannual financial framework (2021-2027) will also include strengthened support for training in advanced digital skills, including AI-specific expertise.

As regards ethical and legal frameworks, the Commission would like to set standards for market players in the EU and position the EU industry on the global scene

It is soon to appoint a High Level Expert Group (HLEG) that will steer the work and contribute towards drafting ethical guidelines on AI developments by the end of 2018. Those guidelines should be based on the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, taking into account principles such as data protection and transparency, and building on the work of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies. To help develop these guidelines, the Commission will bring together all relevant stakeholders in a European AI Alliance. Parallel discussions on ethical guidelines are ongoing at G7 level.

Moreover, in order to further create an environment that stimulates investment, the Commission is proposing legislation to open up more data for re-use and measures to make data sharing easier. This covers data from public utilities and the environment as well as research and health data.

On 10 April, 25 Member States expressed their support for such EU positioning by signing a Declaration of cooperation on AI. The composition of the HLEG is expected to be announced in the end of May.

Learnings about France Télévisions’s first Startup Accelerator

The Innovation division and the MediaLab (the innovation structure for the News department) designed and implemented an internal start-up accelerator, with the help of Cap Digital and in partnership with the start-up Newsbridge.

After a selection panel, Newsbridge was selected to follow this 4-month acceleration program including :

  • being hosted within the editorial team from 23rd October 2017 ;
  • a « sponsorship» by a manager from the News department ;
  • the co-construction of a solution for indexing the shootings thanks to artificial intelligence, and a semantic search engine ;
  • an experimentation phase ;
  • supporting the start-up in its growth;
  • co-financing the project to reward the startup’s commitment.

Continue reading

Karel De Bondt on Intrapreneurship

In this interview we talk to Karel De Bondt, an expert on intrapreneurship at VRT Sandbox

Hi Karel, you are an expert on intrapreneurship at VRT Sandbox. When and how did you take on that role?

I’ve been working at VRT Sandbox pretty much since the beginning. I started with running the startup cases themselves. Afterwards, I began working on an intrapreneurshiptrack, and a track on innovative video workflows.

What does intrapreneurship mean exactly?

At VRT Sandbox, we offer the same support to startups as to internal inventors. These intrapreneursare people with creative ideas, that program software, but also hardware. We want to offer them the same platform as the external companies. This means we will set up a collaboration with production teams and help them grow. We will offer training for pitching, sales and business analysis, as well as business development and so much more

Continue reading

Gregg Young on VR and AR

In this interview we talk to Gregg Young, VR and AR expert at VRT Sandbox. Gregg explains the difference between AR and VR, and reflects on the trends and achievements in both fields.

 

Introduction to AR and VR

Hello, Gregg! You are a VR/AR expert at VRT Sandbox. Since when and how did you get that role in VRT Sandbox?

I started working at VRT in the Immersia TV project, this is a European project under the Horizon 2020 fund. This 2-year project is all about 360-video, multicam 360-video and sending the 360 footage to different devices. Together with other colleagues at VRT we are representing this technology on the news floor and with other VRT brands. This is how I slowly became member of VRT Sandbox. Since then we started to do a lot of VR and AR projects at VRT Sandbox as well.

Continue reading

Research and Innovation in Animation

Animation is a dynamic sector which is flourishing and rapidly changing in terms of technology and audiences. It is a concrete example of collaboration, innovation and creativity. It is an industry which opens up great opportunities to the animators but at the same time financial limitations often lead to technological weaknesses and consequently, less competitiveness in the market. These aspects are presented below in an interview by our colleague from the European Coordination of Independent Producers (CEPI) with Philippe Alessandri; Philippe is Chairman of Animation Europe, the pan European Association which includes animation producer association within the EU, also active member in CEPI.

Liana Digka: How has digital innovation improved the quality of animated series and permitted to relocate production in Europe by increasing the productivity of the animation studios?

Philippe Alessandri: In the 90s, when I had my first contact with Animation, Asia was the place where the animation work was sub-contracted because of the low-cost services. The production was based on traditional means such as hand drawing and camera shooting. At that time, two French companies invented a digital system in order to produce animation electronically. It took 10 years for this technique to be completely accurate and to get enough well-trained artists to use it. With this technique the productivity increased and European production companies became more competitive vis-à-vis the Asian ones. This production optimisation combined with the tax incentives adopted by some European governments made it affordable to relocate production in Europe.

Continue reading

From the ORF to Radiodays Europe: innovation in Vienna

Blogpost by Sarah Geeroms

I leave well in time to make it to Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF) at 9:00AM. The Austrian public broadcaster is located outside the city center, but luckily, public transport in Vienna is well-organized. My contact person Karl, who is a member of the Technical Direction department, welcomes me upon my arrival. We meet at the online & TV center, that has about 1900 employees (out of almost 4000 in total). The radio station, where Karl was working for 20 years, is located in the city center. Just like VRT, ORF is going through an architectural transformation. Within a few years, all of ORF services will be grouped on the same location. TV and Radio will then be subdivided per program.

ORF has two large TV channels and two interest channels (culture and sports). They do not have a children’s channel, as they find almost all of their content in Germany.

Within their own country, there’s almost no competition: ORF has a turnover of 1 billion €, that’s huge!

Continue reading