REPAIR and renewal of algorithmic systems

Published 7 Aril 2023


What does the rapid expansion of AI mean for society?


Driven by pressures to do more with shrinking resources, public sector authorities are deploying and planning to deploy automated service delivery. The pursuit of efficiency, combined with the lack of well-defined operational models and insufficient regulatory oversight, creates pressure towards the key values of a welfare society, such as openness, equality, autonomy and participation.


The rapid expansion of digital infrastructures and algorithmic systems generates new and unforeseen societal interdependencies and vulnerabilities. For example, are privacy and trust ensured when public health interventions are delegated to apps? How organisations respond to real and potential breakages of algorithmic systems, as well as their infrastructural vulnerabilities, show that algorithmic systems don’t only have technological consequences but can also affect how societal trust is nurtured — or broken.


REPAIR examines algorithmic infrastructural vulnerabilities and develops ways to improve algorithmic systems through, for example, studying how cyber insurance responds to the need to manage datafied uncertainty. At the core of this is the belief that, despite their shortcomings, algorithmic systems can also work as a positive force that supports human productivity, sustainable uses of resources and more inclusive delivery of public service.


REPAIR thus brings together leading scholars and experts on societal, organisational, legal and human aspects of algorithmic systems aiming to align them with the goals and values of the welfare society. By working with technical experts and public and private organisations developing and using algorithmic systems, REPAIR seeks to establish new and creative ways to research and promote sustainable algorithmic futures.


For Demos Helsinki, this research complements our mission to contribute to fair, sustainable and joyful digital futures.


The project will:

  • Explore trust and security, related values and practices by observing what professionals do and think when they build, promote and evaluate ʻtrustworthyʼ algorithmic systems.
  • Discuss with citizens, workers, civil servants, professionals and other relevant stakeholders what they expect from such systems, how they experience them, and how they would improve them.
  • Promote public conversations about algorithmic systems not based on anticipation of a possible future but rooted in practices already defining algorithmic futures.


You can learn more about this project here.


The research consortium comprises the University of Helsinki, the University of Tampere, LUT University and Demos Helsinki. REPAIR is funded by The Strategic Research Council – Academy of Finland.


Want to find out more about this project or explore how policymakers can develop fair and sustainable digital policy? Get in touch:

Johannes Anttila
Interaction Lead, REPAIR
Senior Policy Expert, Demos Helsinki


Read more:


Feature Image: Tetiana Voitenko/iStock.