Ethics of Using Smart City AI and Big Data: The Case of Four Large European Cities

Due to the relative infancy of smart cities, and the diversity of approaches and implementations of smart information systems (Big Data and AI),many of the ethical challenges are still being defined.
Authors: Mark Ryan, University of Twente and Anya Gregory, European Business Summit
 
Journal Title: ORBIT Journal
 
ISSN: 2515-8562 (Online)
 
Publisher: ORBIT
 
Abstract
 
2030, the population living in cities will increase by an additional 1.5 billion people, placing a great strain on resources, infrastructure, jobs and healthcare (UN 2018). It has become clear that to combat this change, a number of creative approaches need to be put in place to ensure the sustainable growth of cities - one such approach is the ‘smart city’ (UN 2018). Due to the relative infancy of smart cities, and the diversity of approaches and implementations of smart information systems (Big Data and AI),many of the ethical challenges are still being defined.
 
One of the reasons behind this challenge is a result of the varying smart information systems (SIS) being used in different urban contexts. This case study aspires to unpack some of these ethical challenges by looking at four different applications of SIS being deployed in large European cities: an AI used to understand citizens’ complaints (Amsterdam), a parking permit chat-bot (Helsinki), a platform for data exchange (Copenhagen), and a project with an open-source algorithm (Hamburg).Upon first glance, these technologies seem very disparate, but they all factor into the equation of what goes into making a smart city, ‘smart’.
 
 

Illustration Photo: Kongens Nytorv square. Copenhagen. (credits: Stig Nygaard / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))

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