Research project

Ethical use of AI

While AI technologies have number of positive effects on our lives, they also give rise to a plethora of ethical issues as the design and use of AI are inevitably socially and culturally embedded. For example, machine-learning methodologies can give rise to inadvertent biases in decision making, which derive from the programming choices and data used to train the systems. Such biases may relate e.g. to individuals’ gender and ethnic background and affect their equality of opportunity.

There are only few studies on practical implementation of ethical guidelines or governance experiments of AI in the varying use contexts. In the ETAIROS project, the target is to study and co-create governance frameworks and tools, which respond to the challenge of socially sustainable use of AI.

In order to reach the project goals, there is a need for a shared and coordinated understanding across administrational sectors on general principles how AI is implemented and regulated. This includes also coordination of actions with the private and third sector. In addition, several factors in AI implementation should be noticed. For instance, adequate and symmetric information between stakeholders, coherent policy coordination and visioning across policy sectors, and sufficient transparency of activities will enhance successful implementation.

The main research questions to be tackled are

  • What are the future trajectories of AI and its societal impacts?
  • What kind of action-based ethics and risk analytics could govern future AI?
  • How can we model and design AI systems that are ethically acceptable and how can AI help govern its own ethics?
  • What kind of governance frameworks, practices and competencies are needed to foster sustainable, risk-free use of AI in the society?

To answer the research questions, the project will a) create context-sensitive use scenarios for AI technology, b) provide robust model of the ethically critical features of AI-based processes and risks, c) yield design practices and tools for ethical AI in the context of governance, d) develop AI aided tools for screening ethical aspects in governance, and  e) provide functional forms of governance for the use of AI.

The research project is implemented jointly by University of Tampere, University of Helsinki, University of Jyväskylä, University of Turku and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. 4FRONT Pvt. Ltd. is responsible for the communications and interaction.

Work packages

Work packages

The project is structured around the following work packages:

Foresight produces scenarios of socio-technical futures and related thematic use cases, insights on the most rapidly developing applications and contexts, and explores potential societal and public governance impact.

Ethics studies theoretically and conceptually relevant ethical aspects of the cases and provides framework for risk assessment.

Design studies ethical AI design principles and develops tools for specification-level action design and simulation of AI systems.

Machine learning provides a testbed for AI application specifications, applicable in the context of public administration and governance of AI in general.

Governance focuses on developing governance methods and regulation models in collaboration with stakeholders.

Thematic areas

tekoälyn eettinen käyttö sosiaali- ja terveyspalvelut Social and Health Care

Social and Health Care

What kind of use of AI in health care is socially acceptable and desirable? How is the ethical use of personal data and samples ensured in social and health care services and their development? How is it guaranteed that the use of AI does not lead to discrimination?

AI can be applied in multiple ways in social and health services. It can help us to diagnose illnesses, plan treatments, and improve the effectiveness of the system. However, the exploitation of AI involves complex and yet unresolved ethical issues, which are addressed in the ETAIROS project.

Case organizations: Central Finland Healthcare District, City of Helsinki, City of Kerava, Megical, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, National Institute for Health and Welfare, and Social Insurance Institution of Finland KELA.

tekoälyn eettinen käyttö ikääntyminen kotihoito aging population

Aging population

How to use the care robots? What human rights issues should be considered in the design and use of AI? How can technology enable elderly people to live in their own homes without compromising on privacy issues?

AI can help the society to adapt to the challenges caused by ageing – taking the human rights into consideration. However, as in other fields, common rules of play are needed for the ethical exploitation of AI.

Case organizations: City of Tampere, Finance Finland, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and National Institute for Health and Welfare.

tekoälyn eettinen käyttö yhteiskunnallinen vakaus safety


How can AI be used to manage risks? How does AI help us to prevent accidents?

There are many ethical issues around AI and safety. AI can be used to manage risks and prevent accidents. At the same time, AI makes the safety environment more complex and creates new threats. The ETAIROS project looks how applying AI can improve safety.

Case organizations: Lassila & Tikanoja, National Emergency Supply Agency SPEK, Newsec, and Sello.

tekoälyn eettinen käyttö turvallisuus national security

National security

How does AI affect international politics and diplomacy? How can AI be utilized in defense? How are complex ethical issues related to the use of autonomous weapons addressed?

AI can help us to identify external threats, enhance defense and support decision making. The ETAIROS project explores how ethical utilization of AI can contribute to national security and stability.

Case organizations: Finnish Immigration Service Migri, Ministry of Defense, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

tekoälyn eettinen käyttö autonomiset järjestelmät autonomous systems

Autonomous systems

How do self-driving cars and other transport modes change traffic and how can they improve road safety? To what extent should autonomous systems be ethical? How can ethics provide competitive advantage in the development of autonomous systems?

Autonomous systems refer to self-driving cars, ships, trains, various types of machines and complete industrial systems. They can increase safety and efficiency, but at the same time programming and operating the systems includes complex ethical issues. The ETAIROS project addresses these issues.

Case organizations: Kongsberg, RAAS (Research Alliance for Autonomous Systems), Ramboll, and Traficom.

yhteiskunnallinen ohjaus ja sääntely tekoälyn eettinen käyttö Holistic Governance

Holistic Governance

How can the society regulate the development and use of AI applications? What kind of instructions and tools are needed? How can AI applications better serve the citizens?

AI provides society with opportunities to create better and more effective regulation. At the same time, AI creates new challenges for regulation and control: rules need to be created in constantly changing environment where the direction and speed of the application development is difficult to predict.

Case organizations: Finance Finland, Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence (FCAI), Fondia, Fourkind, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and Prime Minister’s Office.