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AI Forum 2018: AI creates success and economic growth in Europe

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 9.10.2018 9.19
Press release

“For Europe, AI is a key success factor, offering extensive potential for future economic growth. The successful development and implementation of the strategy requires common goals at the European level,” Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä said in his opening address at the AI Forum 2018 conference in Espoo on 9 October 2018.

The conference brings together European ministers, business leaders and AI experts to discuss the future of AI in Europe. It is hosted by Minister Lintilä, Vice-President of the European Commission Jyrki Katainen and European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel. Some 250 people are attending the invitation-only conference.

“Artificial intelligence is part of our daily lives in many ways. It is not a single technology, but consists of various elements. It is actually difficult to imagine a sector or field of society that will not be transformed,” Minister Lintilä continued.

AI Forum to contribute to EU preparatory work

“It is essentially clear to me that today we must figure out, what kind of co-operation we need in Europe to be developed in order to create new business. At EU level there are many ongoing processes, which relate to AI: the new Commission’s five-year work programme and the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework, which are crucial elements for future growth and competitiveness,” Minister Lintilä said.

“Finland’s national AI strategy was published 11 months ago. Free flow, fast access and operability of data are central topics of our national AI policy. Health data is one important example in our context, as we have collected systematically health records of each citizen for decades. When making decision on data policy, we need to take into account privacy,” Minister Lintilä said.

Europe’s strengths on the agenda

The AI Forum 2018 programme is a combination of panel discussions and workshops. The panellists will be discussing how Europe’s strengths in using AI differ from those of other regions, such as China and the US. Another topic for discussion is how Europe can support AI-driven businesses.

The workshop topics include skills development, algorithmic transparency, AI research, the role of the public sector and the ethics of AI. Ministers and business leaders will also convene during the conference to discuss AI and competitiveness.

Political leaders from 22 countries in Europe and the neighbouring regions are attending the conference. The AI Forum 2018 is a collaboration of Finland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the European Commission. Other contributors are Aalto University, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the Technology Industries of Finland. 

Recordings, news and photos from the panel discussions and workshops will be published on the conference website at Follow the discussion on social media using the hashtag #AIForum2018


Akseli Koskela, Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs, tel. +358 29 504 8267 (the Minister’s comments)
Nina Alatalo, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 29 504 7171 (EU cooperation)
Maikki Sipinen, Specialist, tel. +358 29 504 7013 (conference content and programme)
Jussi Nissilä, Head of Development, tel. +358 29 504 7052 (Artificial Intelligence Programme)

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