September 28, 2016

Guest blog: 3 reasons why Nordic countries are ready for Artificial Intelligence

Peter Koning

VP Sales, Simularity

In the recent AI thriller Ex Machina, the setting for the reclusive tech millionaire Nathan was scripted to be located in Alaska. However, one of the main set locations used in the filming of the movie was actually conducted in Norway. Can you imagine Norway – or any other Nordic country for that matter – being the scene for advanced killer robots with artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is about to disruptive all of us: consumers, enterprises, and governments around the world. According to a recent research report from Tractica, the market intelligence firm forecasts that annual worldwide AI revenue will grow from $643.7 million in 2016 to $36.8 billion by 2025.

So are the Nordic countries ready for AI? I feel they are more than ready; in fact they need it.

Just what does AI include? AI is an encompassing term that refers to information systems inspired by biological systems, and covers multiple technologies including machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, natural language processing (NLP), machine reasoning, and strong AI.

Here are 3 reasons why I feel the Nordic countries are more than ready to adopt AI, and why they need it:

1. Data Growth

The amount of mobile data generated by Nordic consumers is incredible. Here’s a quote from a recent article about mobile data usage in Finland: “Finland is a country with 5.4 million people – but the total traffic of the Finnish operators compete with the total traffic of the operators in Germany (population 81 million), Italy (60 million) and France (66 million).” – Ref: http://tefficient.com/finland-the-land-of-five-thousand-megabytes/

As the world’s mobile data traffic increases, there will be more and more valuable data generated by the users. Some experts in the tech industry say that “data is the new water“. But there’s a lot of it. And analyzing all that data – whether it’s app data, social media data, network performance data, or e-commerce numbers – will be impossible without advanced data analysis tools.

The only way that businesses will be able to profit from the insights derived by analyzing the data, will be from real time analytics tools that have some flavor of AI in them which can handle tremendous volumes of data.  So AI will be a requirement in this region simply due to the analytic demands that the volume of data will produce. 

2. Business Culture

Nordic business culture allows for early adoption of technology. Mobile phone penetration has been one of the traditional indicators of this trait.

A more compelling fact is the 2016 rankings of the Global Innovation Index. The Global Innovation Index 2016 (GII), in its 9th edition this year, is co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO, an agency of the United Nations). The top 8 positions (out of 128 economies/countries) are held by 3 Nordic countries, with 2 of them in the top 5 positions.

global-innovation-index-2016

A country or region that is considered innovative will experiment with new technology such as AI well before others do. This is another reason why the Nordic countries will be seen as leaders in AI.

3. Education

Some researchers are predicting that up to 50% of the jobs in the USA and UK are susceptible to automation. How can we protect the future workforce from being replaced by robots and AI?

An argument can be made that the Finnish school system, for example, is protecting the future workforce by the way the youth are educated. They don’t do homework – instead they get lots of time to do other things instead of routine studying.

The end result is a more rounded person – someone with more than just an academic mind. This non-specialty focus will only help protect the new workforce in the future as it will be very difficult for robots or AI software to replicate the general knowledge, experience, and skills that these young people will have. Instead, AI will be embraced and treated as a complimentary skill for these workers.

Artifical Intelligence is coming to the North. The growth of data in the Nordic countries, the business culture eager to adopt new technologies such as artificial intelligence, and an adaptable and non-robotic workforce are just three of the reasons that justify it.

Simularity invited to Finland for AI-driven hackathon

In my latest blog post I wrote about the case of Elo Data Science Hack, where Simularity will be providing our highly scalable Analytics AI to the teams in a Hackathon centered on “Entrepreneur Wellness” for their client Elo – the leading pension fund insurer in Finland with over 85,000 companies as customers. This is one nice example driving innovation and new use cases with help of technologies like AI. 

Read more about the value of data: www.tieto.com/datadriven and follow our stories on LinkedIn. Read more about the Simularity: www.simularity.com.

 

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