The Office of the Prime Minister of Iceland put together last year a committee to author an AI policy for Iceland. In preparation the document that is to be delivered by the committee later this spring, the committee has called for an open commentary from the general public. Earlier this week the Icelandic Institute for Intelligent Machines delivered a report on the Institute’s advice to the Prime Minister’s Office about Iceland and the 4th Industrial Revolution. The 14 page report includes answers to the committee’s questions that it specifically requested in commentary on, including the role that AI technology should and could play in Icelandic society, the values for guiding the Icelandic society in its adoption, and what is needed for the Icelandic economy to be able to utilize AI technology to the fullest.
Over the next 30 years automation will enter virtually every realm of society. The adoption of new AI technology relies on knowledge transfer from basic research, largely originating in academia, to its applied solutions in industry. Neighboring countries, and many others, have addressed this challenge through government support of applied research institutions, for instance, Finland’s AI Research Center FCAI, Denmark’s Alexandra Institute and Institute for Automation, and the German Research Center for AI DFKI, to name a few. All are fairly recent except DFKI, which was founded in 1988. Like IIIM, it is a non-profit organization with an explicit goal of bridging between academic and industry research with a focus on applied AI. Starting with only a few employees in the 80s, it now counts over 1000 researchers in five cities, and it has spawned over 80 startups, most of which are still operational. IIIM’s report argues that without at least one such institution providing an “innovation conveyor belt” of this kind it is impossible to guarantee continuity in AI-driven automation adoption in society, as new generations of AI technology get invented. While most pillars needed for Iceland’s participation in the 4th Industrial Revolution already exist, IIIM’s report argues that lack of government support for a robust “innovation conveyor belt” is the single biggest threat to the country’s ability to participate in, and benefit from, the 4th Industrial Revolution.
As Europe is currently facing a competitive disadvantage in the field of AI, especially in data access, the European Parliament decided to push on digitalization efforts. To officially launch a respective debate, the European Commission published a White Paper on Artificial Intelligence last February. It is beyond doubt that Europe must become more active in its digitalization progress if it wishes to place its countries among the top competitors in the AI space: According to Stanford University’s AI Index report, the world’s AI race is clearly led by the US and China, with Europe not even participating.
Taking action has now started with the establishment of a European Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA), which began its work on September 23, 2020 with 33 members and a minimum duration of 12 months. The chairman of the new committee, Dragoș Tudorache, is tasked with helping Europe to face the new technological challenges and optimistically stated: ‘If we wake up soon enough, we can make up this gap’. The challenges to be faced include Continue reading Europe aims to catch up in AI race→
In September 2018 a new Swedish government authority – DIGG – began its work on new challenges in digitalization. Sweden’s Agency for Digital Government (DIGG), directed by Patrick Ekemo and Ana Eriksson, has the mandate to establish a new national digital ecosystem in Sweden and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of public administration through extensive use of automation and artificial intelligence (AI).
To improve the public administration’s ability to use artificial intelligence (AI), DIGG wants the best Nordic AI competence to be involved from the get-go, in one of their first government assignments, in a special project called Open Data, Data-Driven Innovation and AI. With more than 30 years of extensive experience in AI, IIIM’s Director is among the most knowledgeable in this field in Scandinavia. In 2019 a highly qualified group was formed including prominent experts in digital innovation and AI. The group, which includes IIIM Director Dr. Kristinn R. Thórisson, has the primary goal of providing continuous support and external quality assurance to all analyses and planned actions throughout the project.
Last Thursday a special event and congress celebrated the results of three projects that received a grant from the Center of Excellence fund, established by the Technology & Science Board of Iceland in 2008. IIIM was one of the three projects selected from proposals authored by over 1000 scientists and entrepreneurs in Iceland. Among attendess of the Annual Innovation Congress were Iceland’s Prime Minister, Katrin Jakobsdóttir, and Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, Minister of Education and Culture.