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Minister Lintilä: Finland a leader in the application of artificial intelligence

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
18.5.2017 13.34
Press release

On 18 May 2017, Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä appointed a steering group to prepare a proposal for Finland’s artificial intelligence programme. The Minister states that artificial intelligence has become a core element of digitalisation, and Finland intends to be at the forefront of this development in line with its Government Programme.

"The objective of the artificial intelligence programme is to work in co-operation with the public sector and companies to find the new key measures that best support the utilisation of artificial intelligence and robotics in the innovation activities of companies in Finland. A second objective of the programme is a survey of the changes artificial intelligence and robotics will bring to workplaces, as well as to support the possibilities facilitated by broad-scoped utilisation of information.

"Our goal is to be one of the world's leading countries in the application of artificial intelligence and its implications to the ways we work," Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä outlines. The broad utilisation of digitalisation in increasing Finland's competitiveness creates an important foundation for this work.

"Finland must utilise its limited resources effectively in the application of artificial intelligence to health care and welfare, transport, energy and manufacturing. Finland has numerous pioneering enterprises that have adopted the tools of digitalisation. The next stage will require new and different forms of interplay, do that different types of companies that operate in Finland can utilise these new opportunities effectively," Minister Lintilä explains.

Minister Lintilä stresses that, in order to reach this goal, collaboration of a new type will be required between Finnish companies, research institutes, educational institutions and public organisations. Education in this field must be increased and the continued expertise of those in working life must be endured.

"The transition accelerated by artificial intelligence has revolutionised one sector after another and offered outstanding growth opportunities for agile companies. Finnish companies and the Finnish society are in an excellent position to turn the challenges and potential created by artificial intelligence into drivers of sustainable growth, notes Minister Lintilä.

"We see artificial intelligence in our daily lives in the form of new and better services. In healthcare applications, for example, artificial intelligence analyses all available test data in a few seconds and improves the accuracy of the diagnosis. Artificial intelligence also means that the routes, energy consumption and service operations of ships can be optimised to cause as little harm for humans and the environment as possible. Additionally, we all encounter artificial intelligence when a digital service finds a hotel, a film or a piece of music that meets our preferences within seconds," Minister Lintilä describes.

The steering group led by Pekka Ala-Pietilä will be expected to come up with concrete proposals for seizing the potential of the artificial intelligence revolution, boosting the welfare of the entire country. The proposal for the artificial intelligence programme will be completed by the end of September 2017.

"The competitiveness of innovation intensive countries, such as Finland, is based on their ability to apply new technology effectively. In this respect, the broad-scoped utilisation of digitalisation, artificial intelligence and robotics forms one of the central cornerstones of tomorrow's wellbeing in Finland," say Pekka Ala-Pietilä.

The steering group’s mandate extends to the end of the current government term, and it can be expanded if necessary. The group’s future tasks will include steering the implementation of the artificial intelligence programme, submitting the required proposals to the government, and reporting on its work to the Minister of Economic Affairs.

Further information:
Hannu Väänänen, Special Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 4104 909
Steering group chairperson Pekka Ala-Pietilä, Huhtamäki Oyj, (Executive Assistant Ulla Paananen, tel. +358 10 686 7885)
Director-General Ilona Lundström, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 46 9202 344

Steering group preparing the artificial intelligence programme

Pekka Ala-Pietilä, Board Chairman, Huhtamäki Oyj

Vice Chairperson
Ilona Lundström, Director-General, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment

Ilkka Kivimäki, private equity investor, member of the Research and Innovation Council; Jyrki Nurmi,  Senior Vice President, Valmet Automotive Oyj;
Merja Fischer, Director, Staria Oyj; Jukka Ryhänen, Managing Director, Finland, Combient Ab; Sonja Ängeslevä, Product Director, Unity Technologies Oy; 
Samuel Kaski, Academy Professor, Aalto University; Antti Vasara, CEO, VTT Oy; Taina Kulmala, Head of Unit, Prime Minister’s Office                                    

Tapio Virkkunen, Development Director, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment; Kalle Kantola, Vice President, Research, VTT; Mika Klemettinen, Programme Manager, Tekes

Mark the date in for your diary:
On 23 May 2017, VTT Technical Research Finland Ltd will publish its Policy Brief on artificial intelligence. An excellent analysis of Finland’s potential in exploiting artificial intelligence.

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