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Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities
Finland’s AI expertise strong for the nation’s size category

Government Communications Department 15.1.2019 10.55
Press release 18/2019
Finland’s AI expertise strong for the nation’s size category

A study commissioned by the Government shows that Finland’s AI expertise is at a good European level in terms of research, business expertise and education. In terms of its country size category, Finland is strong in AI expertise. The study was carried out by experts of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Aalto University, Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA) and Silo.AI.

Based on scientific publications, Finland’s research excellence in AI is relatively good. Finland ranks in 17th place, flanked by South Korea and Austria. It is worth remembering that Finland accounts for a mere 0.5% of all AI publications in the world.

Based on the assessment in the study, AI expertise in businesses is also at a good level. But is worth noting that even Finland has not harnessed AI technologies in business operations very extensively yet.

The supply of tertiary-level education will be increased. Unlike in England, the term artificial intelligence is not currently being used in the marketing of study programmes, however.

Investment in AI and its applications is extensive throughout the world, so unless action is taken, Finland’s rank cannot be maintained. If Finland starts lagging in input, this will result in an even bigger exodus abroad of experts in search of interesting and lucrative jobs.

Introducing AI procedures in small functions first

The working group that carried out the study encourages businesses and public bodies to test AI procedures in decision-making.

“AI-based decision-making has not really been taken into use in Finland yet. Partly it is because we are waiting for a policy decision-in-principle on whether machine learning algorithms may be given decision-making powers in major questions. Since no clear and universally accepted answers are forthcoming in major questions of principle, progress will be hampered if we continue to wait. AI procedures could already be exploited in small, guided functions in learning environments without any significant ethical or legal problems arising,” says Research Professor Heikki Ailisto at VTT.

While we would not allow a driverless car to drive alone from Rovaniemi to Helsinki, we could have cars drive up slowly from the parking lot towards a family member with shopping at a shopping centre.  By making steps in simple user cases, we can collect experiences of the use of AI methods to support decision-making. Practical experiences are useful when evaluating the advantages, disadvantages and risks in AI-based decision-making.

Other proposed measures place focus on inputs for research and financial investment in AI in Finland and on procedures related to the development of AI excellence.

Artificial Intelligence and its Capability Assessment Report (in Finnish)

Inquiries: Heikki Ailisto, Research Professor, Head of Assessment Report, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, tel. 0+358 40 555 0726, heikki.ailisto(at)vtt.fi and Pekka Appelqvist, Research Director, Professor, Steering Group Chair, Ministry of Defence, tel. +358 295 160 360, pekka.appelqvis(at)defmin.fi