© AllesAufAuge Medienproduktion

MediaFutures held its third and final DemoDays on the 8th and 9th of June 2023, at the Design Zentrum in Hamburg: congratulations to the winners from our third cohort, and to all the innovative projects fighting misinformation and disinformation! 

The event showcased the remarkable achievements of artists and startups from the third cohort of the MediaFutures project, who had the chance to present their solutions to offer a glimpse into the future of media innovation in front of the public and a jury panel of representatives from the MediaFutures team and independent experts. At the end of the second day, the jury selected the three best projects (one art residency, one startup acceleration and one collaborative team) and the winners of the final prizes. 

  • Best startup and best artist in ‘Startup meets Artist’ track: Truth Detectives

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the MediaFutures team for recognizing our efforts and providing us with unconditional support and mentorship throughout this journey. We are truly grateful for this incredible opportunity. We would also like to express our appreciation to all other teams, who have now become our friends, and to all consortium partners. Your camaraderie has been invaluable. Our team takes immense pride in the hard work and dedication that went into bringing this project to life. And now it’s time to fight disinformation and realise our business model!”

“The best part of Demo Days was seeing all the diverse strategies for tackling disinformation develop into fully realized projects and listening to everyone share what they learned along the way.”.

  • Best startup in ‘Startups for Citizens’ track: Self

Rayén: “The Demo Days were a fulfilling experience of meeting people and learning about the results of projects that are creating concrete responses on how to fight misinformation. We were truly touched by the synergies that this collective in-person encounter brought. We are more than grateful to be awarded by the jury and feel that Self not only exists but will also continue to grow, thanks to the MediaFutures program!”

Jo: “At the Demo Days, I described MediaFutures as a co-parent of our project Self. We joined the program understanding health misinformation as a major issue and a rough idea for how to tackle it with a health app. Through the program, we learnt from the experiences of health misinformation of people across Europe, from queer youth in Poland to cardiologists in Amsterdam. MediaFutures supported us through all of this journey, through two name changes, team transitions, and constantly evolving project visions. We are thrilled to finish the program with the first version of our app and can’t wait to continue Self’s journey. We are set on developing Self into a health app that can meaningfully support us in understanding our bodies, in all their diverse and beautiful messiness. Winning the Startup for Citizens prize was incredibly moving for us. We are delighted that the jury recognised our non-linear journey of exploring the impact of health misinformation and building a tool to address it”.

The projects were judged on a range of criteria, including their impact on tackling misinformation, the business and artistic quality, and the innovation and collaboration between artists and startups. Artists received €5,000 and startups €10,000 as the final award. This prize comes on top of the grant funding they received for participating in the MediaFutures support programme, which supported teams of 51 startups or SMEs and 43 artists through a total of three Open Calls, distributing a total amount of €2.5M. 

“I was really impressed by the high quality of all the artistic proposals. Not only do the projects tackle misinformation with different and interesting approaches, but they also engage the public in a variety of ways. Add to this the results of the projects supported over the past two years, and the overall result is a critical mass of diverse approaches to mediating misinformation issues, bringing significant innovation to the media sector. What’s more, given the success of the teams supported over the past two years, I’m confident in the future development and dissemination of all these projects.” affirms Hugues Vinet, IRCAM – Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music.

These Demo Days served as the grand finale of the MediaFutures programme, culminating in the presentation of solutions and visionary ideas with a significant impact on the media value chain landscape. The event brought together not only the project teams that participated in the programme, but also experts who provided insights through keynotes about the important role of data, digital tools, and AI to shape a more informed and trustworthy media ecosystem, and gave further ideas and opportunities for the artists and startups. 

It continues to amaze me how in a short period of time both startups and artists created such compelling projects that pushed the development in the field of misinformation and disinformation forward!” – affirms Nico Lumma, NMA Venture Capital.

MediaFutures is a highly competitive programme, which challenges the teams in so many different ways. They had to come up with creative ways to use data, engage an audience and to have a meaningful social impact alongside dealing with all the legal and ethical aspects of their work. So being able to find solutions for all of these challenges and to present here at this stage at our Demo Days in Hamburg really is quite an accomplishment from all of our teams. It was great to hear from the experts and keynote speakers at the event and to see them interact and network with the teams. Overall the event was quite an experience and having heard and seen the excellent solutions and artworks from our third and final cohort was truly rewarding as well as a well deserved and great ending to the MediaFutures project.” – concludes Gerrit Rosam, Leibniz University of Hannover. 

© AllesAufAuge Medienproduktion

Projects that participated successfully in the third cohort

Startups for Citizens – ACCELERATOR FOR STARTUPS

  • Online Debate for Impact The project aims to empower readers to counter disinformation and misinformation in online discussion by allowing them to fact check their comments before they post them on the debating platform for media sites.
  • Overtone: Misinformation based on Article DNA – Overtone provides insight by looking at the qualities of the text itself, rather than tertiary metrics such as clicks and shares. It uses the advances in NLP to make the type of data that teams of analysts could generate available to media companies.
  • POLLTIX: depolarising discussions – A new type of public consultation which aims to address the central issue behind the proliferation of disinformation. It will allow the public sector stakeholders to ask open-ended questions, while citizens will be able to submit their own answers and rate answers submitted by others. 
  • Self – A platform for citizens to create, own and analyse information about our bodies. It proposes an alternative: the users who make the data are the ones who own it; the communities who need the research run analyses themselves.

Startup meets Artist – STARTUP MEETING ARTISTS SUPPORT PROGRAMME 

  • Hammer&Egg – An interactive audio walk which adapts dynamically to changing real world parameters. It focuses on cognitive biases and how they make us vulnerable to misinformation and manipulation. The audio walk draws the audience’s attention to the extent to which cognitive biases shape their everyday lives.
  • Dark Listening – Identities — like music — should be discovered, not assigned. A company that makes its money from advertising benefits from a customer base that fits neatly into algorithmic boxes that can be easily targeted with advertising and cultural messaging. 
  • fakingNE.WS: video discussions about post-truth. The project aims to look behind the scenes of fake news and misinformation by bringing together a diverse set of stakeholders in interactive video discussions. It involves artists, scientists, media experts, politicians and the general public to analyse post-truth narratives and co-develop micro mockumentaries for educational purposes. 
  • Truth Detectives – The project addresses the challenge of online misinformation and disinformation by creating an educational experience as a board game. The goal is to achieve engagement and empathy through gamification and storytelling rather than presenting dry facts and numbers.

Artists for Media – RESIDENCY PROGRAMME FOR ARTISTS

  • Ctrl. Alt. Img – Through an interactive installation, the project asks how to use data and dialogue to harness collective knowledge to arrive at an alternative approach to the way underrepresented groups are portrayed in the media and how this informs the way images are generated by machines and used.
  • Honest Signals – Honest Signals will reinforce the importance of high-quality media and also the need for citizens to critically engage with the information that is shared via social media platforms. The data focus for the residency project is climate disinformation where the cost of a polluted information ecosystem is a failure to take the urgent action needed to save the planet.
  • Mining Hate – Mining Hate is an improvised interactive performance built with audience generated content that seeks to create awareness of the practices used by anonymous hackers to target female journalists and minorities in India to spread misinformation.
  • Sock Puppet Theater – An interactive media artwork featuring animatronic sock puppets that speak the words of social media posts from sock puppet accounts known to have engaged in disinformation campaigns. Sock puppets are imposter social media accounts created to infiltrate groups, surveil, provoke, and spread disinformation.
  • Trolls vs Elves. I-Doc. “Trolls vs Elves” i-doc is a synergy between a documentary film and a game. It delves into the issue of disinformation online in the context of Ukrainian refugees, investigating the operations of internet trolls and activists called Cyber Elves.

You can read summaries for each project here.