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By John Glenday, Reporter

March 22, 2023 | 2 min read

‘Unfair City’ shows the huge potential of using AI technology for the charity sector.

Dublin Simon Community, the Irish homelessness charity, has employed artificial intelligence (AI) to personify the true scale of the nation's housing crisis.

The powerful public awareness campaign by BBDO Dublin tells the story of Justin Cannon who has gone from receiving help from the charity to put a roof over his head to serving as a volunteer to help others.

‘Unfair City’ realizes this journey through distinctive watercolor style animation created using AI image generators that helps to humanize a seemingly intractable issue by showing the plight of the individual.

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The unconventional approach saw the charity embrace AI as a means to give vulnerable people the chance to tell their stories while protecting privacy and dignity.

Robert Boyle, creative director and head of art at BBDO Dublin, said: “One of the difficulties of telling stories of homelessness is that it can be very exposing for Dublin Simon’s clients. Reliving traumatic moments in their lives in front of cameras, lights, and microphones can make them feel very vulnerable. The great benefit of using AI in this instance is that it allowed Justin to tell his story on his own terms in a way that was still visually engaging and evocative.”

Spiraling levels of homelessness mean the charity now looks after nearly 9,000 people trapped in emergency accommodation in the city, with thousands more lacking long-term housing security.

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