CEU iLab team Contemplate started their incubation process in early 2020. The original idea was to create an online magazine about the human and societal effects of artificial intelligence, but after preliminary validation the team pivoted the product and decided to build a consultancy business instead with the aim to help scientific projects communicate their results to a wider audience, in an easy-to-understand way. Read Contemplate's story:
"When we applied to CEU iLab more than a year ago, we had unbelievably huge dreams: to build an online magazine that changes the discourse about technology and scientific innovation to include human aspects and the perspective of soft sciences. We firmly believe that individuals and communities can only achieve innovation that truly enriches their life and pushes it towards a sustainable future if we can leave behind the shortsightedness of turbulent markets and put back humans into the driving seat. If we just contemplated more about technology...
We started to carve out the space to do so with lots of enthusiasm and energy - when reality coupled with COVID-19 kicked in. As we struggled to push our entire lives into the digital space, we lost the opportunity to make meaningful connections through physical encounters as well as missed our very first seed funding.
However, the turbulent and unpredictable 2020 also opened new doors and strengthened our terrain: the digital world. Our co-founder, Orsolya Domaniczky was invited to write a study entitled The Role of Aesthetic Considerations in Sustainability for the new and agile Green Policy Institute, a Hungarian think tank with a green agenda, which fits very well with our wider objectives. In the meatime, our other co-founder, Nora Rado managed to write an article series for Goethe Institute about artificial intelligence. The first piece laid out an overview of AI efforts in Hungary, another one dealt with the potential of smart algorithms in healthcare, while the third piece was about biased AI and what we could do to change that. Fortunately, we could also introduce the Contemplate initiative and the ethical side of technology. The latter was widely discussed on social media, which was an important feedback for us that showed the relevancy of the topic and that it is something worth pursuing on the long run.
And that’s what we did. By the end of the year, we managed to set up our website, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter channels, solidify the team, and broaden the scope of our partners and our opportunities. We also became members of a scientific and small business consortium invited by the University of Oulu in Finland, which has the aim to strengthen social sensitivity in the era of technological transformation. The project is truly exciting and we are looking forward to being a part of it this year.
With the help of our mentors at CEU iLab, supporters of the project, (not to mention friends and family!), we went through a meaningful journey: from a lofty idea of an online magazine that wants to revolutionize how we talk about humans and technology, Contemplate evolved into a more down-to-earth concept: we wish to support companies and institutions (universities, research institutes) involved in science and innovation to communicate their abstract ideas to the public in a very understandable way. Contemplate evolved into a boutique consultancy for science communication to create a bridge between technological innovations and society. We aim to build up our credibility through working with clients with meaningful innovation and beyond supporting them in their efforts to communicate well with various audiences, we’d like to show them directions how they could future-proof their services and products from an ethical point of view - from the perspective of what effects they could have on the future of the Planet, of individuals and communities.
However, we haven't given up on our higher mission to help transform the narrative of speaking about technology in a more humane tone to wider audiences either. Contemplate magazine is alive and growing open to anyone who feels a calling to the project. We just realized we need a bit more time, we need to be patient and take smaller steps into the right direction.
So, here we come 2021, let the work begin."