IndI: Innovative interventions for discursive integration

The BMBF project “Innovative Interventions for Discursive Integration (IndI)” is researching how online discourse can be made more inclusive. The project is part of the BMBF-funded “Integrated Research” (the website is only available in german) cluster.

The project focuses on online discussions, which have increasingly become a part of our everyday lives in recent years. However, the often poor quality of these discussions prevents many people from getting involved. There are also other barriers to access for certain population groups. Interventions based on artificial intelligence (AI) could help both to improve the quality of online discourse and to remove barriers to access.

The project team, consisting of social scientists and computer scientists, aims to explore this potential. It is pursuing an open science approach that systematically integrates non-scientific stakeholders into the research and development process on the one hand and openly communicates and utilizes the results of the research on the other. In a first step, the researchers work together with citizens, civil society and organizers of online discourses to collect ideas on what constitutes integrative online discourses and how existing discourse environments could be improved. Suitable AI interventions are then developed on the basis of these co-creative formats. For example, automated moderation or recognition of hate speech are conceivable. The interventions developed are then tested and discussed with users. This feedback is then fed back into the research process in order to ultimately develop an AI application. At the end of the project, the team will conduct a scientific experiment to analyze whether the AI application actually leads to more inclusive online discourse and what users take away from this discourse.

If we succeed in using AI interventions to make online discourse more inclusive, these interventions can be used wherever discussions take place online: For example, in social media such as Facebook or under YouTube videos, on news websites or as part of digital public participation processes.

The project, which was launched on 1 November 2023, is one of a total of five sub-projects in the 3rd sub-cluster “Perspectives on open science in a digitalized democracy”.The coordination of this cluster is also based at DIID and is being carried out by Dr. Katharina Gerl.The total funding amount over three years is around 690,000 euros.Information on the project can be found on the BMBF website here (the website is only available in german).

Funding reference: 16SV9221