The Civic Coding initiative aims to make AI applications social, sustainable and participatory. In our open innovation network, we promote AI for the common good to strengthen our society, our environment and our community. Because we believe that only together can we bring AI applications for the common good into widespread use.
Civic Coding – innovation network AI for the common good: an overview of the initiative
Artificial intelligence is one of the most significant developments in recent technological history, with a wide range of potential applications. So far, however, the development has mainly taken place in research and business. The Civic Coding initiative aims to bring AI to the heart of society and to use and shape AI for the common good. Civic Coding also aims to strengthen alternative development and application models for AI as a complement to international trends in the AI industry. The initiative therefore specifically networks diverse societal groups and perspectives. Jointly with stakeholders from civil society, science and business, the initiative shapes the social, sustainable and participatory development and application of AI. For the successful social use of AI, the needs of all those directly and indirectly affected must be considered at the development stage. At the same time, the initiative also aims to strengthen the digital literacy of society so that everyone can use AI technologies in a self-determined, reflective and safe way.
We, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS), the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) have jointly launched the initiative “Civic Coding – innovation network AI for the common good”. As a lighthouse project of the Digital Strategy , Civic Coding is helping to shape Germany's digital social transformation.
With the Civic Coding initiative, we are joining forces in an open network. This way, the initiative will strengthen data and AI competences in civil society in the future and enable cross-departmental funding programmes and support measures. It will thus promote the social use of AI for the common good.
The launch of Civic Coding
We first publicly launched the initiative “Civic Coding – innovation network AI for the common good” at re:publica in 2021. As part of the symposium “AI for everyone: Shaping a living ecosystem together”, we organised talks, keynotes and sessions with our guests and an interested audience of experts.
Two central questions for the discussions were: How do different societal stakeholders understand and contribute to a focus on the common good? And: What preconditions and frameworks are necessary for the emergence of social and societal innovations based on AI?
In addition to representatives of the ministries, many stakeholders from civil society were present, including Joana Breidenbach from betterplace lab and Matthias Spielkamp from AlgorithmWatch gGmbH. Both emphasised that the involvement of civil society is a key factor in shaping AI.
Since the launch event we have been continously developing the initiative. At its heart are the three anchor projects: the Civic Innovation Platform, the Civic Data Lab and the AI workshop of ideas.