Dear Members of the AI Alliance,
AI4Media is glad to join the community and invite you to a series of blogposts aimed to share the most important outcomes and insights gained from the project’s research activities.
AI4Media is a 4-year-long project funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement no. 951911). The project is working towards establishing a Centre of Excellence on AI and Media, connecting AI researchers, ICT industry and media organisations across Europe. The AI4Media network currently consists of 30 partners and more than 70 associate members, bringing together the fragmented European AI landscape in the field of media, and fostering fruitful collaborations between academia and industry.
With this first blogpost we would like to introduce ourselves and guide you through the six pillars of AI4Media and the different R&I activities carried out by the project. We welcome your comments on the section comments below. You can also express your interest and send us your questions by reaching out through email or our social media.
This blogpost has been co-authored by:
- Dr Filareti Tsalakanidou, AI4Media Project Manager and Research Associate in the Information Technologies Institute, Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, Greece, and
- Dr Yiannis Kompatsiaris, AI4Media Coordinator and Director of the Information Technologies Institute, Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, Greece.
AI for media: Opportunities and risks
Artificial Intelligence is already changing the media industry through advances in content synthesis, analysis, and distribution, but also by offering new deeper insights into the complex and rapidly evolving social processes that unfold online and offline, by sensing citizen activities, interests, and opinions. Empowered by AI-based support across the value chain, the media has the power more than ever before to nurture a democratic society, to improve our lives, and to support our creativity.
At the same time, the use of AI poses considerable ethical challenges and risks for individuals and society. Motivated by these opportunities, challenges, and risks, the AI4Media Network of Excellence is building a wide network of researchers across Europe, focusing on AI for the media, society and democracy.
AI4Media: A European Network of Excellence for Media, Society and Democracy
The AI4Media Network mobilises a critical mass of AI researchers, media industry professionals, legal experts, and social scientists with a focus on delivering the next generation of core AI advances to serve the key sector of Media, making sure that the European values of ethical and trustworthy AI are embedded in future AI deployments, and re-imagining AI as a beneficial enabling technology in the service of Society and Media.
The ambition of AI4Media is to connect the fragmented European AI landscape and establish the EU as a strong international competitor through a unique European brand of Media AI. To achieve this, AI4Media is based upon six main pillars.
1. Media AI Observatory
The world needs to be able to make sense of AI developments and their impact on individuals, society, and the economy. AI4Media combines expert technical knowledge, industry experience, socio-economic analysis, and legal analysis to monitor technological and industrial developments of media AI, assess their impact, and align with policy recommendations and ethical considerations. Research in this direction includes:
- analysis of the regulatory and policy landscape in Europe and beyond;
- development of a roadmap on AI technologies and applications for the media industry, examining technology trends and exploring relevant opportunities, challenges and risks;
- analysis of the societal, political, and economic impact of media AI technology and applications;
- development of policy recommendations to address the challenges encountered by media companies and AI researchers.
This effort culminated in the establishment of the European AI Media Observatory, launched in May 2023. The European AI Media Observatory is a knowledge platform that monitors and curates relevant research on AI in media, provides expert perspectives on the potentials and challenges that AI poses for the media sector, and allows stakeholders to easily get in touch with relevant experts in the field via an expert directory. The aim is to support the ongoing efforts of the multidisciplinary community of professionals who are working towards ensuring the responsible use of AI in the media sector and contribute to the broader discussion and understanding of the development and use of AI in the sector and its impacts on society, economy and people.
If you have a question regarding the AI Media Observatory or wish to provide content that can be featured on the AI Media Observatory, please reach out to the editorial board at email@example.com.
2. Research in four core areas of Media AI
To deliver the next generation of core AI research for the media industry and society and reinforce and extend Europe's expertise in media AI, the AI4Media consortium focuses its efforts in four crucial areas of core AI research:
- New machine learning (ML) paradigms and AI at the Edge, aiming to address important challenges of current ML techniques;
- Trustworthy AI, exploring aspects of AI robustness, explainability, fairness and privacy;
- Content-centered AI, focusing on multimedia content analysis and creation;
- Human-centered and Society-centered AI technologies, focusing on the analysis of online debate, information production and consumption, disinformation, and social media experience.
3. Seven use cases in media, society and politics
Seven media-related use cases are explored in AI4Media, informed by emerging market opportunities and urgent industry challenges. They cover a variety of topics such as disinformation, news research and production, media moderation, organisation of audio-visual archives, game design, human-machine artistic co-creation,social science research etc. The use cases address significant challenges currently faced by different media industry sectors and highlight how AI applies throughout the media industry value chain, from research and content creation to production, distribution, consumption/interaction, performance and quality measurement. To this end, tools and systems currently used by media organisations have been upgraded with novel AI functionalities developed within AI4Media. At the same time, a series of white papers have been delivered on how to align AI research with media industry needs.
4. International AI Doctoral Academy
The International AI Doctoral Academy (AIDA) is a pan-European non-profit umbrella organisation that specializes in AI PhD education, uniting a leading academic mass in Europe to promote AI excellence and democratisation of education materials to PhD students among its members and beyond. AIDA is an initiative of AI4Media, founded and supported by the 5 ICT48 H2020 projects (AI4Media, ELISE, HumaneAI Net, TAILOR and VISION CSA).
The AIDA program is a vehicle for providing access to top-quality academic material in various formats: academic courses (tutorials, short courses, semester courses, summer schools, etc.), thematically organised academic material (presentations, videos, review papers, etc.), and lectures on hot AI topics.
AIDA currently includes 77 members (58 academic institutions and 19 research or industrial organizations) from 27 countries, 121 lecturers and 191 enrolled students while it has already offered more than 60 educational courses in various formats, attended by more than 1,700 students/researchers/professionals in total. It has also offered more than 30 lectures as part of its AI Excellence Lecture series.
If you are interested in becoming an AIDA member, lecturer or student, you can find relevant information on the AIDA website. You are welcome to join!
In addition to AIDA, AI4Media has launched a mobility program called the AI4Media Junior Fellows Exchange Program. The program facilitates exchanges of early career researchers that want to improve their skills and knowledge in AI for the media and society by collaborating with top European AI researchers and media companies to conduct innovative research that considers media industry needs. The program has already facilitated more than 70 exchanges (physical/virtual/hybrid) of junior and senior researchers from over 40 organisations across Europe, producing important outcomes in the form of publications, open software, and open datasets. AI4Media partly covers the travel costs and living expenses of Fellows from its dedicated mobility budget.
5. AI4Media open calls
To increase the engagement of external actors and build an ecosystem around the network, AI4Media has established a targeted programme of cascade funding. Via two open calls, AI4Media funded 20 projects with up to €50,000 equity-free funding to develop innovative AI research or applications for the media sector. The projects are offered dedicated coaching support, tailored training in the form of bootcamps, business support to help promote project results, and general promotion and visibility opportunities.
If you want to know more about the activities and outcomes of the 20 projects funded by our two open calls, please visit our website:
The Open Call #1 projects have already been completed. To present their outcomes to the public and the AI community, AI4Media organises the Open Call #1 Projects DemoDay online on July 18th, 2023. You can register to attend here!
Open Call #2 projects were launched in March 2023 and will be completed in 2024.
6. AI4Media Virtual Center of Excellence
The AI4Media Virtual Center of Excellence will be established in late 2023 and will function as a portal for all Media AI research and innovation activities in Europe, aiming to glue together the pieces of the fragmented European AI landscape. It will offer the opportunity to be part of a dynamic network of organisations that can collaborate in core research on AI; engage in real-world applications for the media industry; keep up-to-date on policy and regulations; monitor everything related to AI for the media; contribute to AI excellent education & training; and collaborate to submit new Horizon Europe proposals on media AI.
Who we are
The AI4Media vision is to become a European Powerhouse of Media AI. AI4Media has established a network of excellence that connects leading researchers, ICT industry and top media organisations across Europe. The AI4Media network currently consists of 30 partners and more than 70 associate members, bringing together the currently fragmented European AI landscape in the field of media, and fostering deep and long-running interactions between academia and industry. The network also includes 20 entities funded by the project’s open calls and more than 30 external organisations participating in research exchanges as part of the Junior Fellows Exchange Program.
How you can become a member of our community
Are you an academic/research institution, SME/industry, public sector organisation, NGO, EU-funded project/initiative etc. with an interest in AI for media and motivation to contribute to research and technological advances in this domain? Then you can join the AI4Media Network as an Associate Member! You can fill in the relevant application here.
What we bring to the table
By joining the European AI Alliance, the AI4Media project aims to share with the European AI community the most important outcomes and insights gained from our research activities. To this end, a series of interesting blogposts is planned for the next few months that will focus on our:
- Strategic Research Agenda on AI for the media industry;
- AI Media Observatory;
- International AI Doctoral Academy;
- Roadmap on AI technologies and applications for the media;
- White papers on aligning AI research with European media industry needs;
- Societal impact and key societal concerns of AI applications in media;
- Analysis of the European legal and regulatory landscape with regard to AI & media;
- Policy recommendations for the use of AI in the media sector;
- And many more!
We hope that you will find this info useful, and we look forward to discussing any questions or ideas that you have. Do not hesitate to write to us in the comments section below, send an email or reach out through our social media!
Stay tuned for our next blogpost!
How to contact us
AI4Media has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 951911.