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MultiPod – Public Spaces for Citizen Deliberation

The MultiPoD project pursues an open, context-aware, multilingual and cross-cultural approach to supporting communication and collaboration in a European Public Space for Citizen Deliberation. It will develop new methods to interconnect existing communities and increase the transparency of political deliberation. Advancing the state of the art in Generative AI for cross-cultural transformation and visualisation will help engage EU citizens to participate in political deliberation across linguistic and socio-cultural boundaries. For policymakers and other professional stakeholders, a visual analytics dashboard will help identify patterns in political communication (origin and impact of inclusion and exclusion strategies, for example, or inherent biases and misconceptions) to increase transparency and support multi-level policymaking at the European level.

Barriers to Citizen Deliberation

As the Conference on the Future of Europe highlighted, EU citizens consider the interplay between national media discourse and political/cultural contexts to affect perceptions and reactions to global events. Language barriers exacerbate siloed thinking, the bandwagon effect, group thinking, and the lack of diversity in dialogue around issues of international relevance, creating “areas” of thinking entrenched into national and language gates and hindering the creation of a truly European public sphere. Such challenges to democratic participation disproportionally affect members of cultural and linguistic minorities within and across EU member states.

From a methodological point of view, a Culture-Specific Language Model (CSLM) and an evolving Culture-Specific Knowledge Graph (CSKG) are the core components of the MultiPoD architecture that address these barriers. They will serve as enablers of MultiPoD’s citizen deliberation features, encompassing both a processing layer and an access layer. As shown in the following figure, these components will support the following steps in the MultiPoD workflow: Capture & Annotate, Federate & Transform, Connect & Empower and Reveal & Explore.

MultiPod System Architecture - Platform for Citizen Deliberation

MultiPod Engagement and Outreach

The research and innovation roadmap of the MultiPoD project aims to radically improve the political dialogue at the European level through evolving knowledge graphs and AI-driven technologies. The project aims to bridge existing communication barriers, develop new tools for content co-creation, provide collective intelligence and yield a better understanding of the interdependencies between participatory citizen deliberation processes, policy decisions and behavioural, thought and argumentation patterns in public deliberation processes. For this purpose, MultiPoD brings together (i) experienced use case partners and European networks engaged in fostering participatory, deliberative democratic processes, (ii) technology partners with a strong track record in multilingual language processing, and (iii) leading research partners, specialised in collective intelligence, argumentation theory, human-computer interaction and visual methods for supporting and analysing online communication.

The MultiPod initiative is currently in preparation for the EU Horizon Europe Program. Additional information will be provided with the expected launch in the fourth quarter of 2024.