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COMPETITIVENESS STRATEGIES

SMART DUBLIN EXPLORES HOW AI AND SOCIAL MEDIA CAN HELP IMPROVE THE CITY REGION LAURA KIRCHNER

PROJECT MANAGER, CITIBEATS

Dublin City Council, through the Smart Dublin initiative, is collaborating with Citibeats to better understand how citizens experience the city region. Through social media analysis, local authorities can gain important insights into how citizens feel about key civic issues. Smart Dublin, an initiative of the four Dublin Local Authorities, uses innovative technologies and new ways of working to improve quality of life in the city region. Smart Dublin works collaboratively with technology providers, researchers, and other public sector bodies, to solve local challenges. But what is the best way to identify local challenges? The answer: listen to what local citizens have to say! We live in the age of information where, globally, more people have mobile phones than have access to toilet facilities. Sharing our thoughts, opinions, complaints and concerns daily, through multiple digital channels, has become common practice for huge swathes of the world’s population. When we consider the sheer scale of the information that is communicated online, the non-stop flow can appear overwhelming. While any information one might need or want is out there, sorting through this information, identifying what is relevant and discerning meaningful insights is where it gets tricky. With the help of artificial intelligence, this process has become more

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and more possible. Smart Dublin has teamed up with Citibeats to explore how local authorities can tune in to what citizens are saying on social media and use this feedback to inform their work. Citibeats is a social intelligence and speech analytics platform. Using natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning, Citibeats organizes unstructured data - in this case, the opinions of citizens expressed via social media, in an anonymous and aggregate manner - and uses Arifical Intelligence (AI) models to categorize and decipher the data. Data is presented via visual dashboards from which insights can be used by local governments and decision makers as action items to improve city life. Citibeats provides an important tool for local authorities, but it is important to note that these insights are indicative only of the key trends and sentiments expressed by a cohort of citizens who use social media. Local authorities employ other methods to ensure truly inclusive citizen engagement.