Report: Turning Finland into a leading country in the age of artificial intelligence

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 14.3.2019 14.03 | Published in English on 15.3.2019 at 11.37
Press release
Report: Turning Finland into a leading country in the age of artificial intelligence

The final report of Finland’s Artificial Intelligence Programme published on 14 March 2019 states that taking Finland into the age of artificial intelligence (AI) calls for continuous capacity building, public discussion on the ethics of AI, as well as bold choices and investments. As one concrete step, the report recommends investments in use of data and AI, especially in business to business markets in which Finland already has strong leading expertise.

Today, the level of utilising AI varies between businesses and sectors: organisations that are advanced in digitalisation are advanced also in AI application. Data has become the most valuable resource in the world. In data utilisation, competition in business to business (B2B) activities is just starting, unlike in the business to consumer (B2C) sector that is dominated by international giants in platform economy. This entails an opportunity for Finland: AI suitable for B2B is under development and in this area the Finnish AI research is among the best in the world.

“Finland is one of the nations that can be among the first to find solutions, benefit from this development and strengthen the wellbeing of its citizens. The key issue is to ensure that all Finns are involved in the change. As the contents of work change, we need to make sure that Finns can rely on their knowledge and skills in the labour market,” says Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä.

“Finland has strong expertise in B2B activities. Small Data and AI technologies such as to unsupervised learning can bring Finland to the top of the B2B markets,” says chairman of AI Finland Programme Pekka Ala-Pietilä.

In order to build an attractive and competitive Finland, it is of great importance that the public and private sectors work closely together to promote the digitalisation of businesses and utilisation of AI. This is a way to find efficient paths to increase investments in innovation activities, build effective cooperation models, develop encouraging regulation and support the expertise of the business world and the development of capabilities on a broad basis.

In terms of AI development and application, the critical competition factor are AI experts. It is important to attract top experts to Finland and increase the skills throughout the organisation, including the management. The report suggests examining the possibility of granting a training voucher or creating a career account for every person of working age. This would create an effective adult education market in Finland.

The AI Finland Programme involved more than hundred experts and people of influence from different sectors of society, including business and industry. The report covers eleven different themes, or keys, with recommended guidelines on how to utilise AI in Finland.   It also presents a vision of Finland in the age of AI in 2025: a nation that is attractive and competitive and that has informed and independent people with relevant education.  

Background

In May 2017, Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä set a goal of making Finland one of the top countries in the world in AI application and appointed a working group to prepare a proposal for Finland's AI Programme.  As the work progressed, the following reports were published Finland’s age of artificial intelligence (2017) ja Work in the age of artificial intelligence (2018).

Inquiries:
Jussi Nissilä, Development Director, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 052, forename.surname@tem.fi
Maikki Sipinen, Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 013, forename.surname@tem.fi