Promoting ethical AI solutions
The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) technology on daily life is growing in leaps and bounds. No longer the domain purely of academics and researchers, AI projects and initiatives are being implemented in sectors from public health to traffic control, and from monitoring air quality to identifying illegal holiday rentals. The Global Observatory for Urban AI is a city initiative led by the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB), Barcelona, London and Amsterdam. Its aim is to promote ethical AI systems in cities by ensuring that algorithmic tools safeguard people’s digital rights and are aligned to democratic values.
Amsterdam in the forefront
The Atlas details real-world examples of projects, policies and strategies and is intended to help cities deploy AI effectively and ethically. It includes initiatives in 36 cities with the Amsterdam Area leading the field with 17 initiatives listed, followed by Helsinki with 10 and London with eight. A total of 106 initiatives are listed, of which 38 are in the Netherlands. Initiatives added to the Atlas must respect and uphold one or more of the Global Observatory’s ethical principle relating to fairness and non-discrimination; transparency and openness; safety and cybersecurity; privacy protection; sustainability; and accountability.
Collaboration key to AI innovation
Amsterdam is in the top ten of the world’s AI-ready cities, scoring second in the ‘small cities’ category and seventh overall. AI solutions are already playing a big part in a number of sectors, including fintech, and life sciences and health, with collaborations between academic, private and public organisations increasingly bringing AI to other areas of business and society. The University of Amsterdam offers a master’s programme in AI and the Amsterdam Area is also home to many academic labs that work closely with the industry, such as the Qualcomm-QUVA Deep Vision Lab, ICAI and UvA-Bosch DELTA Lab.
Human-centred AI gives Amsterdam the edge
AI innovation in Amsterdam stands out for its human-centred approach and focus on outcomes that improve people’s daily lives. This includes ensuring that data is collected and shared ethically. The municipality has joined with the city’s researchers and universities in the AI Technology for People programme, designed to help the city develop and deploy responsible AI technology. Recent initiatives have included the University of Amsterdam’s AI, Media & Democracy Lab, which investigates the impact of AI on the democratic function of media, and the Responsible Sensing Lab, aimed at investigating privacy-related issues arising from sensors and other methods of data collection in the city, with the aim of ensuring they are responsible, transparent and inclusive.