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“Basic Income Machine”: help at the push of a button

“Basic Income Machine”: help at the push of a button

The "#WirVsVirus Solution Enabler" project “Basic Income Machine” is an initiative exploring the opportunities of AI for social work by providing a machine terminal for support.

The coronavirus hits vulnerable groups like the homeless and people living in poverty the hardest. The economic impact of the crises has put many people out of work. Furthermore, help offerings continue to decline as the coronavirus spreads and without a home, it is impossible for these people to isolate and protect themselves.

Moreover, looking ahead and beyond the current crises, AI automation is expected to make work in many traditional jobs redundant during the next decades. Even though artificial intelligence provides opportunities for economies, those technologies are rarely utilized to improve social work, health care, and employment services.

A button for those in need

How does the “Basic Income Machine” (BIM) help almost 240.000 homeless people in their current situation with Covid-19? By being able to provide assistance in less than 30 seconds. The “BIM” terminal becomes a personalized assistant. At the push of a button, groups of people in precarious life situations are provided with assistance and income opportunities, as this demo illustrates. Tobias Martens of “BIM” states, “the project got me immediately because it works directly where it is needed. I’m sure that BIMs will have a rapid but also sustainable impact.”

Hackathon beginnings

The “BIM” is an open-source co-creation initiative exploring the opportunities of artificial intelligence for social work. The initiative originated in the “#WirVsVirus hackathon”, initiated by a corporation of the German government and actors of civil society with the goal to counter challenges posed by the coronavirus collectively. The BIM ideas: Let’s imagine machines for basic income and vending machines for jobs. Their hackathon pitch video demonstrates what the team accomplished in the mere time frame of a weekend in March of 2020.

#WirVsVirus Hackathon Pitch Video

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The “BIM” terminal depicts local residents, shops, or even social services that can offer micro-jobs or other services. In addition, the terminal offers easy to understand icons and how-to videos. Those looking for work will receive tasks and everyone looking for help will receive support.

“The idea, the team, the product: everything fits together to make work and health services available to society directly and down to earth in a way that creates value,” says Barbara Flügge of “BIM”.

(Photo: Screenshot Basic Income Machine Website)

The initiative is now part of the “#WirVsVirus Solution Enabler” programme, initiated by the social acceleration platform “Project Together“. With the Vodafone Institute as one of its funding partners, the programme aims to implement the most promising solutions and digital prototypes as quickly as possible.

About the “#WirVsVirus Solution Enabler” programme

The “#WirVsVirus Solution Enabler” is a six-months implementation programme for 130 selected innovative solutions developed for coronavirus-related challenges. The programme that is supported by the Vodafone Institute with startup funding, know-how and digital expertise, encourages projects from 12 action fields, such as health, everyday life and crisis management, to successfully implement their solutions on a broad scale. The Institute supports the project teams with individually tailored support by providing access to the Vodafone corporate network. Particularly the startup programme Vodafone UPLIFT with their PACESETTER offering supports the teams in the areas of IT infrastructure, public cloud, IoT solutions and individual consulting. The programme under the patronage of the Federal Chancellery has started working with the projects on April 8 of 2020. Find further information here.