AI4Citizen will provide an AI-powered Personal Assistant for Public Services in the domain of Education. The goal is to demonstrate how AI can support all actors involved in the match-making of secondary school students required to perform an internship, with companies proposing topics for these internships. AI and the AI4EU platform will be used in the pilot experiment to enable teachers and mentors to better understand the competencies brought by external activities and to provide personalised guidance to students to choose the best suited activity.

Key Hashtags:

#ai, #artificialintelligence, #education, #AI4EU, #AI4EUplatform, #citizen,

Key Messages:

1. Ai4Citizen is a collaborative research project to demonstrate how AI powered technologies and tools can serve as a personal assistant and provide a better user experience.
2. AI4Citizen will provide an AI-powered Personal Assistant for Public Services in the domain of Education.
3. AI4Citizen in the domain of Education will showcase AI-powered tools to support all actors involved in the match-making of secondary school students required to perform an internship, with companies proposing topics for these internships.
4. AI4Citizen is part of Pilots Execution Plan - a programme to demonstrate experimental pilots with the AI4EU Platform.
5. AI4EU platform will be a major asset to speed up the development of the AI enabled scenario as numerous AI techniques should be interconnected.
6. AI4Citizen illustrates how AI can help citizens to engage with the public sector in a variety of domains and for different needs.
7. AI4Citizen pilot experiment will provide personalised guidance to students to choose the best suited activity.
8. AI4Citizen pilot experiment will support teachers to dedicate more quality time to student, since AI will perform repetitive and complex tasks
9. AI4CItizen will streamline the decision-making process for all stakeholders involved.

Citizens are routinely engaging with the public sector in a variety of domains and for different needs. Finding the right contact and associated procedure, understanding and following the instructions and procedure in the proper manner and making the right decision when several alternatives exist is not straightforward. While this is difficult for adults, it is becoming even more challenging for teenagers that discover for the first time a complex procedure involving not only their school but also a strange world: the business world. AI4Citizen pilot choose to focus on the newly established Italian scheme called Aternanza Scuola Lavoro (ie. school-work alternation – ASL) that involves circa 1.5 millions of 15 to 19 years-old pupils for 200-400 hours over three years through practical experience to help to consolidate the knowledge acquired at school and to test the attitudes of students and students on the field, to enrich their training and guide their study path and, ultimately, to help them to choose their future work.

To better understand the peculiarity of this use case, we defined four personas on the know-how of our FBK partner and on a series of interviews:

Ludovica, a 18 years old student attending the fourth class of the classic high school, looking for an opportunity to work in a team within three weeks internship. While she is a fast and keen learner and an enthusiastic person, she is having difficulty to understand the job offer and if her skills are matching company’s interest;

Arnoldo, a 61 years old teacher that shares with a colleague the management of the ASL office at his Institute; he likes to help students - more than 300 per year - to find out the right internship. Besides placement, the aim of their office is to follow on the administrative paperwork collecting students‘ forms, final reports prepared by the students and evaluation forms prepared by the company tutor, but he also like to detect potential problems;

Carolina, a 48 years old assistant of a large research center who is taking care of the relationships with different schools, interacting with tutors like Arnoldo to select an interesting team of interns, and onboarding them, to chase researchers to collect internship offers, final and evaluation reports;

Rosanna, a 37 years old busy researcher who likes to have teams of two to four interns every summer to help her on pet projects, to get some youngster vibes and to transmit her passion about her work.

During interviews to teachers, researchers and parents, we identified the main scenario and the pain points involving the different personas. We described the current process together with the AI enabled scenario. Since FBK is running a conventional portal for the schools of the Trento region, we decided to focus on two specific problems in the scenario, that are particularly time consuming and not supported by the current version of the conventional portal:

1. how to best inform and guide Carolina in her internship quest with a teenager ready conversational interface;
2. how to support Arnoldo to build teams of complementary interns while optimizing the acquisition of new skills and their personal wishes.

The next descriptions explain how AI will modify Ludovica’s quest for the perfect internship

The school system proposes different social media channels (eg. Facebook, Twitter) that students can use to search and enroll in an internship. The system is connected with the internship offers proposed by companies, universities, research institutes. It is also connected to the ASL-FBK system, which means that it can access all the known information about each student in the school (competences, previous internship experiences, etc.) and past year statistics and testimonials.

During her quest, Ludovica, connect to the chatbot, using the ASL FBK credentials, and initiates a discussion session with the general chatbot. The general chatbot discerns where Ludovica's interests lie, first using the information already memorized in the ASL-FBK system, but also asking Ludovica some more information [ e.g. when she would like to do the internship; where she would prefer to do it – close to the school, close to her home; if she would like to do it with some friends], and redirects her to a domain specific chatbot.
The specialized chatbot then proposes several internship programs that lie in its field and gathers Ludovica's interest and preferences over them. These preferences are passed to the team formation algorithm to be used in this process.

The AI4EU platform will be a major asset to speed up the development of the AI enabled scenario as numerous AI technics should be interconnected.

The collaboration of the different partners leveraged their areas of expertise:
- SAP oversaw the development of the pilot, they provided the chatbot component and business modeling capabilities;

- FBK provided its ASL know how and its field experience as the operator for the Trento region ALS system. This included the access to real – albeit obfuscated – real data, but also the development of new components to facilitate the dialog with the students using data clustering methods;

- CSIC focused on the modeling of the team formation problem, which is NP-hard. A specific effort was also dedicated to designing an algorithm for computing the optimal distribution of teams based not only on companies’ requirements, but also on pedagogical aspects and students’ preferences. Furthermore, CSIC has conducted a systematic evaluation to show that the team formation algorithm outperforms state-of-the-art approaches.

The requirements gathering and interviews started during Summer 2019 due to the initial delays related to the administrative constraints (eg. Consortium agreement) The Pilot proof of concept was ready in June 2020. Due to the COVID19 outbreak and the consequence on the ASL cycle (eg. very low number of ASL in 2020) real life experimentation will be executed in 2020/2021.

The AI4Citizen pilot shows how several AI powered technologies can be assembled to provide a better user experience. It aims to enable students to interact in a more natural way with the system and lower the number of repetitive tasks to the teachers so he can dedicate more time to talk with students and companies. The team formation solves in minutes what used to be a major burden to the teachers with a measurable metric while taking as much as possible into account student profile and wishes. Real life experimentation foreseen in the second part of the project will enable to measure these achievements.

AI4Citizen is part of pilot experiments with the AI4EU. AI4EU consortium was established to build the first European Artificial Intelligence On-Demand Platform and Ecosystem with the support of the European Commission under the H2020 programme. The aim of the AI4EU is to create and support a large European ecosystem to facilitate collaboration between all Europeans actors in AI, such as scientists, entrepreneurs, SMEs, Industries, funding organizations and most importantly citizens.

Names and Titles of Speakers

Jean-Christophe Pazzaglia, PhD