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Creating ethically sustainable artificial intelligence

Published on 23.1.2020
Tampere University
Artificial intelligence (AI) is being applied in increasingly many fields, but many people are still slow to warm up to the idea of using it. One of the biggest concerns is the loss of jobs. AI can also arouse fears about citizens being monitored and controlled.

Tampere University’s Human-Centered AI Solutions for the Smart City (KITE) research project is addressing these concerns through AI solutions that are meaningful, understandable, acceptable and ethically sustainable for their users.

“AI is much researched but introducing the human aspect to artificial intelligence solutions is still quite new internationally,” says Professor Kaisa Väänänen.

“After seeing what kind of needs and demands, but also concerns, there are about AI we decided to combine AI research with human-centred technology design. Both have a long tradition at Tampere University,” Väänänen continues.

The city of Tampere wants intelligent applications

KITE focuses on smart city applications such as smart transport and sustainable solutions.

The application domains are chosen in cooperation with the city of Tampere. The application design in the project addresses user needs by exploring users’ positive and negative experiences of AI and their expectations for using it.

“The areas of application include, among other things, supporting mobility and the smooth management of large flows of people, decision-making by city employees, and assessing and visualising the well-being of residents,” Väänänen explains.

“Privacy issues and the transparency of data processing, i.e. how AI applications collect and process data on us, are also core research topics,” she adds.

AI gives a competitive edge to SMEs

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that develop or use AI applications in the Tampere region are invited to join the project.

“The project can give companies new know-how and competitiveness. Among other things, KITE offers knowledge on the integration of user interfaces and machine learning, human-centred design methods, and ethical guidelines,” Väänänen says.

Companies are first invited to answer a questionnaire and interviewed about their experiences and challenges in AI development.

“In workshops which the project organises for companies, we will delve into selected themes together,” Väänänen says. In addition, the companies may contact the experts of the project whenever they need.

“We can do, for example, user or needs testing and much more according to the needs of the companies because the funding model of the project also allows company specific actions. Any company developing smart city applications in the Tampere Region is welcome to join us,” Väänänen says.


Human-Centered AI Solutions for the Smart City (KITE)

  • A diverse development project funded by the European Structural Funds (Pirkanmaa region), Tampere University, and Business Tampere.
  • Includes five research groups: human-centred design, user interface development, social technology, machine learning, and the ethics of artificial intelligence.
  • The development work is conducted under the umbrella of Tampere University’s artificial intelligence research centre AI Hub.
  • The Project runs until April 2022
  • For more information, please visit: