Two cities in the Netherlands, Amsterdam and Helsinki, became the first cities in the world to launch open AI registers that track how algorithms are being used in the municipalities.
In a press release, the cities said that the registers would help ensure that AI used in public services can operate on the same principles of responsibility, transparency, and security as other local government activities.
With the project, the two cities commit to open and make their digital development more transparent. This in turn, makes the project part of the country's Smart City project, which describes itself way to create future-proof cities.
According to Touria Meliani, Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam:
"Together with the city of Helsinki, we 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.”
Both of the registers were developed by Saidot, a Finnish company that creates tools that help public agencies make their AI initiatives more explainable.
At its initial release, the two registers only contain a limited selection of applications.
For Amsterdam (algoritmeregister.amsterdam.nl), the AI register includes an automated parking control system, a tool that analyzes reports on issues in public space, and an algorithm that calculates the probability of an illegal vacation rental situation.
And at Helsinki (ai.hel.fi), the register includes a chatbots, and an intelligent management system for the city library’s collection.
Both registers in the two cities provide an overview of each system, as well as further details on the data they use, their operating logic, and the governance of the applications.
In the AI registers, users can also find descriptions of the respective city's AI systems, and can learn more about how the city is using AI. Through the AI register, users can also provide feedback, participate in research and thus influence how Helsinki and Amsterdam will build reciprocal, human-centered AI in the future.
Both cities want to improve their availability of services and the experiences to citizens. And with that in mind, the municipalities believe that AI can help them achieve that goal.
For example, the city's chatbot experiments are a step towards enabling services to be reached anywhere and at any time. At this moment, a large number of AI experiments are already underway in different sectors in the cities cities. The services are ready and already in use.
“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," said Pasi Rautio, Project Manager of the Helsinki City Data, AI and robotization project entity.
"The wide-ranging utilization 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."
The cities plan to add more applications to the AI register.
Aik van Eemeren, Head of Public Technology at the City of Amsterdam, said that the municipality is seeking suggestions on improvements to the beta version of the register, which will eventually include all the city’s algorithms.
Internationally, the AI registers of the cities of Helsinki and Amsterdam are the first of their kind. But in the near future, more AI registers are expected to be launched.