How generative AI can be used to create social impact

Guest post by Shiran Mlamdovsky Somech, who is the founder of Listen to My Voice, an award-winning, AI-based media campaign against domestic violence, a social tech entrepreneur, and an AI Impact Leader at tech companies. Shiran harnesses her passions for creativity, technology, and humanity by leveraging generative AI for good through global, diverse projects. She also has a years-long experience in volunteering to help women at risk. Shiran graduated from the Kellogg Executive MBA program at Northwestern University.

 I would like to share with you how we used generative AI creatively to create social impact and battle domestic violence, and give you some inspiration and practical tools based on that experience.

Generative AI and social impact

Developing an idea

I come from the high-tech industry. Throughout my whole career I have been working with cutting-edge technologies and supporting entrepreneurial women as well as women at risk.

The idea of the campaign came to me as a result of several circumstances. First, working at Drive TLV, an innovation center for smart mobility and sustainability, brought me into contact with a truly avant-garde generative AI tech company D-ID, that enables businesses and creators to generate photorealistic digital presenters from text and still photos. Second, while working with D-ID, I met a survivor of domestic violence. Her husband tried to kill her but she survived and shared her story with the whole country.

By doing so, she dramatically increased the awareness of domestic violence. In addition, at the same time period, I was introduced to the Michal Sela Forum, which encouraged the use of technology in combating domestic violence. The survivor’s story led me to the thought that, tragically, the women who were murdered cannot be heard. But if they could be, what would they say?

As a result of this chain of thoughts, an idea popped into my head: these murdered women needed a voice! This is how the Listen to my voice, Listen to Your Voice AI-based media campaign was born.

At that moment, I was unsure of whether this was a brilliant idea or an insane one!

I shared it with my colleagues at D-ID and with a friend who was the managing partner of DIBOOR advertising agency. Luckily, they all supported it, and from this point on, I had a mission. To dedicate myself to it, I quit my job and together we created a truly life-saving campaign.

What we did and how we are combating domestic violence

Using D-ID’s AI technology, we ‘’brought back to life’’ five very different Israeli women who were murdered by their partners. We animated and dubbed their still photos to create a ‘’video’’ of them telling their own story. To show that domestic violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, we chose victims from different backgrounds in terms of age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

These videos went viral thanks to their powerful message and the illusion of a real interaction with the victims that triggered a strong emotional reaction. Thanks to this effect, we have increased the awareness of dangerous relationships and the importance of safe separation.

The impact

The campaign was an outstanding success by every measure: it reached 10M views in only 3 days. It was aired on the national news and went into overdrive on social media. It was backed by almost 100 local municipal leaders around the country, presented in Knesset committees, covered by the international press as BBC and Reuters, and featured at the UN and NATO. We have also won international advertising awards, such as three Golden Drum awards.

The campaign’s engagement rate was 5 times higher than the average, with men being almost half of the audience. I see it as a great achievement because to create a change, we needed to engage with all genders.

Our campaign has already saved lives. While the campaign was promoted, the clicks on the helpline numbers and the risk assessment questionnaire reached 1,000. We also received real-time emergency inquiries from young women and teenagers through social media.

What gave the campaign so much power?

In short, the right partnerships. We brought together three very different sectors:

Non-profit organizations that contributed their professional knowledge, and connected us to affected families;

Leading high-tech companies (D-ID, Meta, Natural Intelligence, Outbrain, etc.) that either contributed the technology, media, or sponsored the campaign;

The public sector (the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel) that helped us to expand our outreach to almost 100 municipalities and their citizens, including the Arab community.

Summary

So… how to leverage generative AI for good?

1) Dream big. Don’t be afraid to think big and be ambitious;

2) Listen actively. Listen to what people have to say about your initiative, take the relevant insight, don’t take no for an answer;

3) Try to solve a problem that you’re passionate about and is close to your heart;

4) Find the right partners that complement you;

5) Communicate with your target audience and the impacted population, listen to what they have to say.

See more breaking stories here.

Shiran Mlamdovsky Somech is the coauthor of the book named “Doers & Dreamers” which has just been released, you can read more on www.doers23.com.