Brilliant Failures AI Awards ceremony for the public sector

Published on: 12 April 2023

On Wednesday 12 April 2023, during the Netherlands AI Congress, the awards for the most Brilliant Failure in AI in the public sector were presented for the second time. The initiative for this occasion was taken by the Netherlands AI Coalition in cooperation with the Institute for Brilliant Failures.

It is intended as a positive way of paying attention to AI projects, creating awareness of the importance of learning from AI and experimenting with it. The possibilities of AI are vast but do not just happen automatically: it is important to learn from all the various experiences, so that we can develop socially relevant AI applications efficiently, effectively and responsibly. Two awards were presented, one prize from the general public one chosen by a jury. The jury prize was presented by Paul Iske, the jury chairman, who is also the Chief Failure Officer of the Institute for Brilliant Failures. The public prize was presented by Marieke van Putten, chair of the Public Services working group at the Netherlands AI Coalition.

Jury Prize

The jury awarded the prize to the My Data, Our Health Foundation (Stichting Mijn Data, onze gezondheid), which is working on trust in research data that is generated and managed by the public. Its core function is connecting requests to use and reuse health data with the person the data is about – in short, organising permission. But although the data is available and the public would like to see it shared for research purposes, it is not always that simple in practice. In one project, the gap with the Medical Ethics Committee about views, ethical concerns, methodology and health proved impossible to bridge and the project had to be cancelled. Legislation and regulations are not always in line with the developments or with society’s wishes.

Public Prize

The general public prize was won by the Province of Noord-Holland Data Lab (Provinciale Datalab Noord-Holland),which wanted to use the winning project to get a grip on tourism traffic in nature and recreational areas to learn how the province can influence such flows, based on data and AI.However, the data turned out to be not entirely valid… The Amsterdamse Bos recreational area, for example, appeared to be very popular, especially in the morning and afternoon during rush hours. It turned out that the A9 motorway, which runs straight through the Amsterdamse Bos, had been included in the counts. The conclusion was that it is important to involve people who are familiar with the situation.

The importance of a learning approach

The Institute for Brilliant Failures and the Netherlands AI Coalition would like to thank all parties who submitted a case for their openness and for sharing their experiences so that we can all learn from this approach. We would like to congratulate the Province of Noord-Holland Data Lab and the My Data, Our Health Foundation on winning the Brilliant Failures Awards! You can find a more detailed description of the winning cases here. It will shortly also be possible to view them on the websites of the Netherlands AI Coalition and the Institute for Brilliant Failures.

Awards in 2024

The Netherlands AI Coalition and the Institute for Brilliant Failures underline the importance of experimenting with AI and stress that failures (sometimes brilliant ones) are unavoidable in the responsible development and application of AI. That is why we invite all parties in the public sector to compete for the Brilliant Failures Awards in 2024.

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