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Ivan Caballero is a Catalan technological serial entrepreneur who , in his fourth company, received a call from his main client, an airline, saying that they were about to close and that all the debt they had with them could not be paid, which implied firing his team of 17 people.
An hour later Ivan receives the news that he was going to be a father, that moment of shock going from business success to failure, to the feeling of absolute creation by his future fatherhood, prompted him to seek to leave a better world.
So in 2013, as a social experiment in Barcelona, he decided to validate the hypothesis that a disinterested action of help, by generating a chain effect, can transform an entire society.
So he decided to create Social Coin , a virtual currency in which, by helping someone, the person receiving this support had the commitment to help someone else, generating a chain of favors. In one year they achieved more than 500,000 positive actions with more than 20,000 social coins distributed in more than 70 countries. This social experiment became a global movement allowing you to understand what motivates people to help others.
“To want to help people, they need to have a context of what are the social needs around them, generosity can improve our life, but also that of others”, says Ivan.
After this learning, at the end of 2015 they were winners of a grant of one million euros by the European Commission with Citibeats , a project to detect through social data the real-time needs of citizens to be able to make informed decisions using intelligence artificial ethics.
They were subsequently recognized by the United Nations World Summit Award as the most innovative project in the global inclusion and empowerment section, in addition to being selected as one of the Gifted Citizens Projects in Ciudad de las Ideas , Puebla.
During 2017 they were investing the capital received by the European Commission to develop their technology in conjunction with the Spanish Artificial Intelligence Institute , launching in 2018 the first version of Citibeats.
By creating an analytics platform augmented with Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing algorithms, you can process large volumes of text data in any language and text format. The objective is to help multilateral organizations and Development Banks to react more quickly to social problems, allowing the creation of initiatives that help to solve them in a better way.
Citibeats team / Image: Courtesy Citibeats
During COVID-19 , Citibeats has collaborated with the Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations Development Program to detect the needs of the population, mainly in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Helping to identify needs that may be hidden in the population, for example, on April 15 the New York Times reported famine problems in Venezuela and Colombia, but the Caballero algorithm had detected it 14 days earlier.
“We have learned that one of the pillars to promote citizen participation is to understand the needs of society that is why we have created Citibeats using artificial intelligence for the massive analysis of social data in text format, but this would not make sense if we did not use this type of technologies following three pillars that we consider ethical “.
1. User privacy, avoiding collecting personal data and, if for any reason we have to do so, we immediately delete them once the analysis is completed, without generating traceability of the users who have generated this information.
2. Reduce bias, around 70% of the content generated on social networks in Latin America is by men, which skews and misrepresents the voice of women. The same occurs with certain ages and races that are not so represented in the total analysis of social networks, so we have developed our own technology to draw balanced conclusions.
3. Use cases with a positive impact on society. Many of the Artificial Intelligence tools are used to sell more, however, at Citibeats we are very clear about the importance of using these technologies for projects in which there is a positive impact on society, directly impacting people’s well-being ”, says Ivan .
According to the director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Andrew Ng , “artificial intelligence is the new electricity and all industries will be impacted by it” so that every day it will play a fundamental role in our lives, being key that Directors of public and private organizations understand the possibilities that are presented to them when using this type of technology and specifically in the public sector to empower citizens to help detect the main problems and promote participation in the creation of solutions that benefit to his community and with this to the world.
As entrepreneurs, access to technologies such as artificial intelligence is democratized every day, which gives us great power to help solve the world’s great problems, but every great power implies great responsibility, which is why it is very important to detonate talks about artificial intelligence. ethics .