Tampere University of Technology (TUT) and the University of Tampere (UTA) merged on 1 January 2019 to form a new university called Tampere University. Together with Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) a unique higher education community will be formed with its sights set on high-quality, high-impact research. This is currently the most significant structural reform in Finnish higher education. This is the background within which the Intelligent Society Platform takes place and grows out of.
The aim of the profiling is to seek ways to create intelligent societies. An intelligent society is sustainable and possesses functional and legitimate institutions that are trusted by the citizens. In an intelligent society, institutions support active agency of citizens who can apply intelligent technological systems effectively, thus constantly renewing institutional practices.
There is a wide sense of a global-scale crisis that involves the political system, societal institutions and the media environment. Revolutionary changes in technology challenge welfare states, public services, private enterprises, social partners, and consumer and labour market. The Intelligent Society Platform (INSO) is a key contribution of the new Tampere University for managing these disruptive developments and aiming at a more sustainable, intelligent society. By combining the expertise of the new university in social research, engineering and natural sciences INSO develops a groundbreaking platform that provides possibilities for high-impact research in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) for a more intelligent society while evaluating the changes taking place.
The Intelligent Society Platform creates a combination of disciplines, a methodological range and a theoretical depth that is unique in Finland. The approach to study the renewal of societal institutions through AI and other data-driven technologies, and the development of technologies with societal consequences carves out an urgent, new profiling area that is not covered by any other institution. Tampere University will have an exceptional opportunity to develop new capacities for overcoming the persistent divides separating the social sciences, engineering and the natural sciences.
The findings of INSO will be of international interest both in terms of methodological innovation and substance. The European Union invests heavily in research on the impact of AI on governance, policy-making and society. INSO will significantly contribute to the European debate on inclusive society and governance for effective policy-making. The incorporation of artificial intelligence capabilities into public service delivery and social life is a major policy challenge in Finland and Nordic countries where the welfare state is going through transformation. This transformation is carefully observed in many parts of the world, also beyond Europe, in Asia and Africa in particular. The knowledge produced in INSO will contribute to better policy development and societal outcomes, as well as develop technology with less unintended societal consequences.
INSO will develop new, interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the significant non-human agentified social actors and their emerging role and capabilities in human social life. While doing this INSO will be able to contribute in educating engineers with understanding of society and experts for different fields of society with an adequate understanding of technology and the possibilities it provides
Cooperation and dissemination of information in creating a more intelligent society, cooperation and dissemination are a part of the default setting of research design. The innovative working methods of INSO are based on action research and citizen science, where institutions and/or individual citizens take part in drafting the research setting from the beginning and research process is already a part of dissemination. In addition, Tampere University will have well-established modes for the dissemination of results to companies, as this has been one of the strategic goals of TUT. The deepest mode of dissemination towards industry happens through strategic partnerships. In addition, INSO pays particular attention to developing science communication that focuses on introducing issues related to societal and technological solutions and aims to bridging the divide between social sciences, engineering and natural sciences.
The Intelligent Society Platform, (INSO) is an Academy of Finland funded profiling action.