This toolkit is for civil society organisations and local authorities who want to empower communities to address the climate crisis, using AI to help manage, maintain and augment civic assets.
Organising large scale community responses can be a messy and complicated task, but AI can help cut through this complexity to coordinate action. Civic AI is a research project exploring where AI can help equip communities with the tools to collectively respond to the climate crisis and achieve the 2050 target of a carbon-neutral economy. Developed by Dark Matter Labs and Lucidminds and supported by Nesta’s Centre for Collective Intelligence Design (CCID), it builds on CCID’s research that explores how novel forms of combining artificial intelligence and the collective intelligence of people can better address significant social challenges.
Collective intelligence is the enhanced capacity that is created when people work together to mobilise a wider range of information, ideas and insights in order to solve problems. In the 21st century this means connecting contributions from diverse groups of people, novel sources of data (e.g. from mobile phones and satellites) and technologies like artificial intelligence.
The Civic AI toolkit contains three “strategic blueprints” or visual guides that map out the different components (datasets, digital infrastructure, AI models, community contributions, etc) making up an open public service ecosystem and describe how the different parts interact.
Each blueprint explores a unique scenario where people and machines work collaboratively as part of a collective response to the climate crisis. Within the scenarios, AI is used as a tool to enhance a community’s collective intelligence, to help align actions, reduce associated costs, and advance the value of collaboration.
The three scenarios we address are:
Connected urban forest
How can AI and CI help communities measure and analyse the impact of urban trees, in order to justify the need for their investment?
Collective climate action
How can AI & CI help communities develop collective understanding of common goals, simulate the impact of and commit to climate actions?
How can AI and CI help communities set-up, operate, maintain and model the financial and social outcomes of community energy initiatives?
We have developed these blueprints as tools for organisations and communities acting at the local level, assuming that the open ecosystems would be developed and maintained collaboratively by multiple actors.
We hope they can:
Each blueprint covers five sections:
75% of the effort will be directed towards integrating and deploying existing solutions and community engagement. The remaining focus should be on process innovation in order to create seamless experiences and wide adoption of existing AI techniques, applied in specific contexts.
Alongside the blueprint, you will find a summary of each use case and the challenges it tries to address, as well as some of the issues to be aware of with respect to AI ethics and data privacy.