Startups, stories and Scotland

The NewsXchange in Edinburgh; “the news industry’s most provocative and insightful experience”. That is what the site mentioned, and we – three startups from Belgium, France and The Netherlands were invited to show what we built. We considered it an honour in itself.

The organization gave us also a clear idea of the two-day annual conference at the 14/15th of November 2018, and we found out that all of it was true.

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European Elections, Media and Disinformation: a tricky rebus to solve! The intake from EuroPCom 2018

Written by Luciano Morganti & Heritiana Ranaivoson

EuroPCom 2018

 

On the 8th and 9th of November 2018, the 9th edition of EuroPCom, the European Public Communication Conference, was held at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels. This year the conference scored a record figure of 1,714 registrations. Also this was the first gender-balanced EuroPCom event to date! But this year EuroPCom established also other records with a very young audience (41% of participants were under 30 years old), 15% of participants coming from academia, and 66% female participants. As stated last year, EuroPCom is now the de facto annual “to be” event for communication managers and experts from local, regional, national and European authorities.

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Bridges in (Audience) Measurement

Towards a more flexible and complete media accountability toolbox

Words by Katty Roberfroid-Close

The difficulty of measuring audiences across screens and platforms is nothing new. The media industry, although aware of the constant improvement brought to the existing measurement and trading currencies, do actively or passively struggle with some of its shortcomings. There is an unprecedented sense of urgency and growing momentum to boost innovation in the sector and solve the issues impacting the reliability of digital media and bring the greater clarity that will allow marketers to better evaluate the relative effectiveness of the options at their disposal thanks to metrics such as viewability, attribution, engagement, sales uplift, etc. In other words, the industry needs to move from a media-centric towards an advertiser-centric model, while keeping comparable and global KPIs for trading and validation.

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The General Data Protection Regulation: A first step to protect EU citizens’ personal data

Words by: Merve Bektas, Yasmim Pessoa, Kaia Socha, Laura Basiacco, Justyna Zawada, Artaban Micali Drossos, Luciano Morganti, Heritiana Ranaivoson

Who has not yet seen this request while navigating the Internet: “This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies”? We all did! But, let’s be honest: how many of us even know to what exactly we are agreeing to?

Yet, every day, we put our trust in the hands of companies without knowing the specifics of the(ir) terms and conditions we subscribe to. Why do we do so? Most probably, it is for the willingness to log in quickly, to buy a specific product (we cannot any more live without!), to book an Airbnb … all of this and more overpowers the burden of reading the pages we are supposed to read and agree to about those specific terms and conditions.

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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.

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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

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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?

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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.

 

 

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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.