Artificial intelligence (AI) already seems to be everywhere. But in the next few years it is expected to revolutionise transport, industry, healthcare and working life. AI is not exactly new though – it has been studied and applied in different ways since as far back as the 1950s. Finland, too, has contributed to the development of AI technologies and expertise from the very start.
What can we do to ensure that Finland is among the leading users of AI in the future? Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä set up a working group with the task of answering this question in late May 2017. The special nature of the task at hand is that it requires consideration of measures reaching far into the future and at the same time measures that are relevant today. The scale of the task is also particularly broad: the conclusions will have an impact on the whole of society.
The working group considering the future of AI in Finland encapsulated the task they were given into four questions: (1) How can the public and private sectors best work together to ensure sufficient support for businesses in the production of AI-based innovations? (2) How can data-driven businesses benefit from the secondary use of public sector information resources? (3) How will AI affect us as individuals and what will be its impact on the future of work? And what will be the wider impact on society? (4) What kind of measures does the public sector require as we move towards the age of AI?
The working group has now published its first interim report, which lists 8 key actions for taking Finland towards the age of AI:
- Enhancement of business competitiveness through the use of AI
- Effective utilisation of data in all sectors
- Ensure AI can be adopted more quickly and easily
- Ensure top-level expertise and attract top experts
- Make bold decisions and investments
- Build the world’s best public services
- Establish new models for collaboration
- Make Finland a frontrunner in AI
We can be certain that our understanding of how AI can be utilised will change and improve rapidly as the work progresses. Everyone has a part to play in how the future is perceived, and we will all experience the impact of AI. The development work is not something carried out merely at national level, but instead involves continuously monitoring developments worldwide and engaging in international networks. Only by working together will we be able to create new solutions for a changing world.
The working group’s interim report is the first stage in a process that will last for a number of years to come. We are only now becoming aware of the future importance of artificial intelligence for Finland’s prosperity and wellbeing. We are also just at the start in determining the measures needed to achieve the goals that have been set.
As the work progresses the content of this online service will be modified and expanded.