Amsterdam and Helsinki launch AI register lists

Worldwide: Amsterdam and Helsinki have launched a set of digital registers collating each city’s use of artificial intelligence [AI].

They hope to improve understanding of the type and purpose of AI solutions used in public services.

Finnish company Saidot, which develops tools to make AI more “explainable”, created the registers for the cities. Each provides an overview of the systems, with further details on the kinds of data used, their operating logic, and their governance.

Amsterdam deputy mayor Touria Meliani said: “Algorithms play an increasingly important role in our lives. 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,” added Meliani.

The cities both deploy a select number of tools. Helsinki primarily utilises chatbots and an automated library system, while Amsterdam focuses on parking and uses of public space.

The Dutch capital has also been experimenting with AI to limit the proliferation of vacation rentals in the city. Its programmes use population information and housing fraud databases to determine the likelihood that an individual property may operating fraudulently.

Marnix Bolkestein, head of the city’s housing division, said: “Hopefully this will mean we need less manpower to find suspicious homes and there will be more time to send in the inspectors. We already analyse this information, but it is done by hand; the algorithms can do this better and more quickly.”

American cities hoping to regulate short-term rentals have also brought in AI solutions. Nashville, Las Vegas and Denver have signed agreements with AI firms to improve enforcement and raise taxable revenues.

Both registers are still in development, with the hope that additional programmes and information will be added later. Amsterdam’s head of public technology has added that the municipality is searching for suggestions to improve the platform as it leaves the Beta version.