By Julià Vicens (Eurecat – Technology Centre of Catalonia)

The first call of MediaFutures closed in January and received a response of more than 100 applications that focused on tackling misinformation in the context of coronavirus. The projects presented shed light on one of the four identified Challenges: Viral Complexity, Building Bridges, The New Media-tors and, finally, an Open Challenge that confronts misinformation from a different perspective than the rest. 

Since this first call closed, experts from different fields (business, arts, technology, data science, etc.) have been reviewing all the proposals submitted and the selected projects will be announced very soon (stay tuned!)

Data and Tools

One of the pillars of this call and, therefore, of the selected projects is Data. During the coronavirus epidemic the generation of data from different sources has been overwhelming. We have witnessed an explosion of data regarding public health or mobility which has joined the pre-existing data from media, social networks, etc. The society as a whole has been seeking answers through this data, an action which illustrates the importance of data literacy for data governance and for empowering people in a datified world.

In MediaFutures, our approach of data use deals with different aspects that, at the same time, are interconnected. We are interested in the use and generation of datasets that shed light in the phenomena of misinformation and the use of data-science techniques from different perspectives: artistic, business, technological, social and the combination of them, with particular attention on aspects such as bias in data, fairness in algorithms and privacy by design.

During this first call, Eurecat – Technology Centre of Catalonia, will give support to the selected participants in data science related aspects. We have created an infrastructure with an extensive catalogue of datasets that contain relevant information about coronavirus and misinformation. Furthermore, we have generated a list of open source tools focused on three different aspects that we consider relevant for the projects: tools for digital methods, which allow analysis and collect data from different platforms; tools for data science, standard python libraries that facilitate the data analysis and modelling; and open digital arts tools.

Next steps: experiment design

During the next six months the support program will take place, an accelerator (start-ups) and residency (artist) program in which we are involved by designing experiments with some of the selected projects. 

We will work actively and closely with a short-selection of projects in order to perform research in topics such as citizen engagement, misinformation, controversy analysis, etc., adding value to the projects and generating knowledge about these topics aimed at our society. 

We are thrilled to START and BUILD.