Ai register, illustration.

Helsinki wants to be transparent about artificial intelligence: the Artificial Intelligence Register shows how

Artificial intelligence has become an integral part of our everyday life. The City of Helsinki wants to improve both the availability of services and the experiences of customers, and artificial intelligence can help in this. For example, the city's chatbot experiments are a step towards enabling services to be reached anywhere and at any time. At the moment, a large number of AI experiments are underway in different sectors. The services now ready and in use have been compiled in one place in the brand new Helsinki City Artificial Intelligence Register. It's a window to the AI systems that the City uses.

Through the Helsinki Artificial Intelligence Register, you will have access to the services where the city is currently making use of AI. In the AI register, you can find descriptions of the city's AI systems and you can study how AI is used in them. Through the AI register, you can also provide feedback, participate in research and thus influence how Helsinki will build reciprocal, human-centred AI in the future. The plan is to bring more applications into the AI register during the autumn.

“The use of artificial intelligence is becoming more common in the world, and its use will also increase in the city's services in the future, as artificial intelligence becomes more familiar and the city learns more about its applications. The wide-ranging utilisation of artificial intelligence is conditional on maintaining trust in the city's activities. Therefore, the city strives to strengthen this trust with the greatest possible openness. This is why the Artificial Intelligence Register has also been created,” says Pasi Rautio, Project Manager of the Helsinki City Data, AI and robotisation project entity.

Helsinki and Amsterdam first cities to open their own AI applications in an open register

The Helsinki Artificial Intelligence Register has been implemented in cooperation with the City of Amsterdam, which is launching a corresponding register. Both cities are committed to open and dignified digital development, so it is natural that concrete information on urban AI applications is also available. Openness also aims to enable, in future too, stronger shared participation in the development of artificial intelligence.

“Helsinki aims to be the city in the world that best capitalises on digitalisation. Digitalisation is strongly associated with the utilisation of artificial intelligence. With the help of artificial intelligence, we can give people in the city better services available anywhere and at any time. In the front rank with the City of Amsterdam, we are proud to tell everyone openly what we use AI for” says Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki.

Internationally, the AI registers of the cities of Helsinki and Amsterdam are the first of their kind, but in future the AI registers are expected to become more common elsewhere. They are a way of communicating openly about the city's AI applications. The implementation of both registers is carried out by Saidot, a Finnish specialist in technologies and services pertaining to the openness and explicability of artificial intelligence.

The city makes responsible use of artificial intelligence

Human-centred AI is built on open and ethically sustainable utilisation of technology and AI. The objective of the City of Helsinki is that artificial intelligence in public services must operate on the same principles of responsibility, transparency and security as other activities of the city.

Cities have lots of information about their residents in different services. In Helsinki, the starting point is that everyone in the city must also have access to comprehensible and up-to-date information on how algorithms affect their lives. And that is precisely why the AI Register has been set up.

AI already affects the everyday lives of city people

Artificial intelligence refers to systems that observe the environment and process information in order to achieve, without guidance, the objectives assigned to them. In the case of city services, artificial intelligence may, for example, recommend books suitable for the library's customers or issue instructions for those consulting, for instance, childbirth & maternity counselling. Artificial intelligence also seeks, for example, easy and rapid access to information, identification of objects or people, appropriate recommendations or more efficient traffic control. At the same time, it should be borne in mind that artificial intelligence does not function in a vacuum or on its own. A person ultimately responsible for the operation of artificial intelligence is always needed to teach and supervise the machine.

And does artificial intelligence have to be fair in the first place? Ethics of AI, a new, open and free online course of the University of Helsinki, will be launched in November 2020. It is part of open MOOC-courses at the Univeristy of Helsinki and a deep dive into the ethical questions of artificial intelligence. The course helps both software developers, users of AI applications and decision-makers understand how AI can be used in an ethically sustainable manner.

You can read about this in the Helsinki Artificial Intelligence Register: