October 6, 2020

Helsinki and Amsterdam launch world’s first open AI registers

An aerial photo of downtown Helsinki.
Helsinki is proud to openly tell everyone how it uses artificial intelligence, according to Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.
Jussi Hellsten / City of Helsinki

Helsinki and Amsterdam have become the first two cities in the world to launch an open artificial intelligence (AI) register in an attempt to promote transparency about the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence in their activities.

The European capitals have been at the forefront of utilising artificial intelligence to improve the availability and customer experience of services, as evidenced by their sundry experiments with applications like chatbots. As such solutions become more commonplace, it is critical to strengthen public trust by providing access to comprehensive and up-to-date information on how algorithms and artificial intelligence affect the lives of residents.

“With the help of artificial intelligence, we can give people in the city better services available anywhere and at any time,” remarked Jan Vapaavuori, the Mayor of Helsinki.

“[W]e are on a mission to create as much understanding about algorithms as possible and be transparent about the way we – as cities – use them. Today we take another important step with the launch of these algorithm registers,” added Touria Meliani, the Deputy Mayor for Arts, Culture and Digital City of Amsterdam.

The registers not only contain descriptions of artificial intelligence-driven systems and their use, but also offer residents an opportunity to send feedback and take part in research, thus contributing to the creation of reciprocal, human-centred algorithms.

Announced on 28 September at the Next Generation Internet Summit, the registers will be implemented by Saidot, a Finnish specialist in the openness and explicability of artificial intelligence.

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