Civic AI Lab

The Civic AI Lab is a collaboration between City of Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) and University of Amsterdam (UvA). Civic AI Lab focuses on the application of artificial intelligence in the fields of education, welfare, environment, mobility and health.

Although AI offers great possibilities, there are also disadvantages to deploying AI. Image recognition systems, for example, were typically trained using images of people with a lighter skin tone and therefore were not as accurate when recognising those with darker skin tones. Insurers also use mathematical models that identify postcodes where there is an increased risk of burglary. However, this results in higher premiums for the residents of these neighbourhoods. As a result, this increases inequality in a city.

With the Civic AI Lab, the City examines examples of such friction so that in the future AI will promote equality and deliver fair opportunities, overcoming its negative side effects. In the Civic AI Lab, five PhD students conduct research on AI issues in the areas of education, welfare, the environment, mobility and health. The lab also serves as an information point for residents and businesses who have questions about new technologies and the ethical and inclusive use of them. The lab should make residents aware of both the opportunities and risks of AI.

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Research Topics

Smart algorithms that integrate and research data on birth and youth health care in Amsterdam

Better and fairer models for the distribution of finances among pupils and schools

Providing insight into, predict and help reduce (inequality in) overweight and obesity

To visualize and predict inequalities in the city in terms of health, education level, crime and income

Scientific Director

Sennay Ghebreab is professor of socially-intelligent AI and research group leader socially-intelligent artificial systems at University of Amsterdam.

Scientific Co-directors

Hinda Haned is professor of data science at University of Amsterdam and senior lead data scientist at Janssen Biologics.
Jacco van Ossenbruggen is professor of AI at VU Amsterdam.