COVID-19: Combining crowdsourcing and AI to tackle the pandemic

Crowdsourcing is often associated with the darker side of AI: clickworkers in sweatshops filtering out illegal content from social media sites, to help train bots that will ultimately make the clickworkers redundant. In this session, we look at some of the more positive synergies between AI and crowdsourcing, through the lens of the coronavirus pandemic.

Online crowdsourced events such as the EUvsVirus hackathon held in April with over 20,000 participants have proliferated under the current global lockdown, bringing with them new lessons for how AI can contribute to better organizing large scale collaborations between humans. At the scale of citizen-driven science for Covid, projects have emerged that combine AI and crowdsourcing to extract vital information from the flood of literature being produced or train algorithms that can analyse social media for important trends. As the EC launches a new initiative for grassroots crowdsourcing to tackle the SDGs, this panel will discuss how AI can help crowds achieve more, how crowds can help improve AI, and where this marriage of people and machines might have the most impact on Covid-related research and innovation.

Speakers, Panelists and Moderators

    Professor, University of Barcelona
    University of Barcelona
    Maite is "Profesora Titular de Universidad" (similar to Associate Professor or Tenured University Lecturer/Professor) at University of Barcelona (UB) She is member of the WAI (Volume Visualization and Artificial Intelligence) research group (2009 SGR 362)- CLiC Centre de Llenguatge i Computació (2014 SGR 623, 2017 SGR 00341) and adjunct scientist at the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (IIIA), as well as member of the Consolidated Educational Innovation Group INDOMAIN (Grup d'Innovació Docent Consolidat: GIDC) at UB (code GIDCUB-13/138), former board member of the ACIA: Catalan Association of Artificial Intelligence / Associació Catalana d'Intel.ligència Artificial, and one of the board directors of the EURAMAS (European Association for Multi-Agent Systems).
    Politecnico di Milano
    Barbara is full professor of Computer Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano since 1993. Her research interests include adaptive information systems, service engineering and web services, data quality, and energy efficiency in information systems. She has participated as coordinator, scientific, unit, and dissemination leader in many past national and EU-funded projects. She has served as program chair or co-chair in several international conferences, among which CAiSE, BPM, Mobis, Coopis, MCIS, and IFIP Working Conferences. She has published 50 papers in international journals, co-edited 35 books, and published about 300 papers at international level. She has been involved in the editorial board of the Requirements Engineering Journal, of the Journal on Cooperative Information Systems as regional editor, the Journal on Database Management in the editorial review board, the ACM Journal of Data and Information Quality. She is in the editorial board of ACM Transactions on the Web and the Journal on Cooperative Information Systems. She was Dean of the Politecnico di Milano PhD School in 2011-2015 and Member of the Senate of Politecnico in 2013-2016. She is coordinator of the PhD Programme in Information Technology of Politecnico di Milano since 2019.
    Deputy Head of Unit, European Innovation Council
    Isidro is the Deputy Head of Unit of the European Innovation Council – Innovation Ecosystems unit (TF2). He was before for 8 years the head of the Startup Europe initiative at the European Commission. Since 2015 Isidro has also been nominated thought leader at United Nations ITU, and is member of several advisory boards to international networks of startups. He combines his professional activities with academic activities such as being Cambridge University CSAP Continuing Fellow, visiting lecturer to CEPADE (Universidad Politecnica of Madrid) and writing books and papers, some of which have been translated into other languages, including Japanese. After graduating as an Engineer from the Universidad Politecnica of Madrid, he set up his own software business in the Tecg AgriFood area, before becoming a strategy advisor to CEOs of large corporations. Afterwards he became director in charge of IT and Change Management Projects in a large corporation. In 2001 he moved into the public sector where he has been mainly working on strategy and innovation within the European Commission as well as member of advisory committees of many international organisations.
    CEO & Co-Founder
    AIcrowd is a platform for streamlining your AI workflow - internally, or externally, by running AI, machine learning, and other data science challenges. AIcrowd helps organizations - whether businesses, universities, government agencies or NGOs - develop, manage, and promote their challenges. AIcrowd streamlines your machine learning workflow, and connects your problems with machine learning and data science specialists and enthusiasts, who will collaboratively try to find the most accurate, efficient and effective solutions.
    Director of the Geneva Tsinghua Initiative; AI for Culture preservation Solution Track Co-Chair
    University of Geneva
    I am a physicist with a background in nanotechnology, and a passion for citizen science. I also have broad experience in science management, teaching and communication, in the United States, China, Japan, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland. During the past decade, I have managed the development of a series of online citizen science projects in a wide range of research fields, starting with the launch of LHC@home in 2004 while I was a manager at CERN. In 2009, I established a partnership for citizen science between CERN, the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the University of Geneva, now called Citizen Cyberlab. As an invited professor at the Centre Universitaire d’Informatique (CUI) of the University of Geneva since 2014, I coordinate Citizen Cyberlab, managing the development of technologies for crowdsourced research, exploring the broader impact of citizen science for society, and promoting public participation in science through hands-on events. I also teach courses on Open Science and Citizen Science at the bachelor and master level. Since 2016 I am Director of the Geneva Tsinghua Initiative, a comprehensive education programme for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. From 2016-18 I was Director of Digital Strategy for the University of Geneva.
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20 May 2020


CEST, Geneva
14:00 - 15:30


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