Frequently asked questions and answers on artificial intelligence

  • What is artificial intelligence?

    Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to software that is capable of learning and making decisions almost in the same way as humans. AI enables machines, devices, programs, systems and services to function in a manner that is sensible in light of the given task and situation. AI can already recognise faces, understand speech, diagnose patients, analyse X-ray images and drive cars.

  • Why is AI topical right now?

    Artificial intelligence has been discussed for a long time but, right now, it is emerging as a key accelerator of the digital transition because: (1) digitalisation has given rise to very large data sets and the amount of data continues to grow at an accelerating rate, (2) the rapid growth of computing capacity and decreasing prices enable the processing of large data sets by an increasing number of users, and (3) new algorithms are continuously being developed for data utilisation.

  • How does AI increase competitiveness?

    AI combined with robotisation and automation enables increased productivity, production flexibility, as well as completely new products, services and business models. AI allows Finnish companies to add elements to their products and services that provide customers with greater added value.

  • Is the development of AI solely under the responsibility of MEAE?

    No. Digitalisation is one of the spearhead projects of Sipilä’s cabinet. It was recently discussed in the Government’s mid-term review among the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Education and Culture.

  • Finland has a limited R&D budget. What kind of AI is it possible to create in Finland?

    In Finland, it is important that AI applications make people’s lives easier and provide an opportunity to improve the quality of life. This is the more inexpensive aspect of the development of AI, which relies heavily on the fact that Finns are a technology-loving people happy to adopt and utilise all kinds of technical equipment.

  • Will AI rob people of their jobs in Finland?

    Artificial intelligence is already heavily used in, say, the process industry. In the future, the implications will also extend to the banking and trade sectors and to the media. Even now, some jobs will become redundant but, at the same time, new jobs will be created. We need to pay attention to the need for education in the changes taking place in working life: we have to ensure that those who enter the labour market have the necessary skills and those already working will continue updating their skills.

    At the same time, employees’ input can be used, for example, in the services and care sector for the human encounter, leaving the repetitive, monotonous tasks to AI. It is also worth noting that Germany has the highest degree of robotisation in Europe—and the lowest unemployment rate.

  • Is artificial intelligence just a fad?

    AI is here to stay as part of digitalisation in industry, but increasingly also in the services and transport sector. It facilitates the handling of various tasks and will enable us to develop more customer-friendly services. The best results are obtained when artificial intelligence assists the employee in his or her daily work.

  • There has been talk of Watson Health. Will neighbours and shopkeepers soon have access to my health data?

    No. Due to transparency issues and security, the use of artificial intelligence requires careful cooperation between different legislative entities. The security of access to information must be guaranteed to individuals.

  • How can we take care of security issues in AI?

    We need to be able to create a safe practice where you will know where your personal data is, who uses it, and how you can benefit from it.

  • What is the gist of AI?

    It is data economy. Data and information are the diamonds processed by AI. The important question is: who owns the data, that is, who benefits from it. For this, we will be preparing guidelines for Finland in the steering group.

     

  • Why do we need an AI Programme?

    Several other countries and large companies around the world are investing billions of dollars in AI. Finland cannot afford to stay back in the race despite the fact that we do not have vast resources to invest in the creation of new AI. Therefore, we now need a vision shared by all stakeholders on how Finland could be the best country in the world in the agile application of AI to areas such as health and wellbeing, transport, energy, manufacturing industry and services.

  • What is expected of the AI steering group?

    Minister Lintilä expects: (1) the steering group to prepare a short action programme on what the Government can do immediately to make Finland a world leader in AI utilisation; but since this is not enough, the steering group is also expected (2) to come up with a long-term action programme to modernise the world of work, education, research and data economy in general.

  • Can artificial intelligence be a threat?

    Above all, AI is a means of improving people’s lives, which can be done, for example, through better services. However, we must take care of information security and legislation when processing personal data, for instance.

    In any case, we need to identify any potential threats and find responses to them through extensive social debate. Ethical issues come to the fore if the decision-making process is increasingly shifted to software. The behaviour of self-driving cars in dangerous situations is a well-known example. It is also necessary to evaluate, for example, the various aspects related to the financing of the welfare society. Many of these factors also require international cooperation.