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Estonia is integrating over 20 machine learning-based solutions in the public sector.

Artificial intelligence can be defined as a system that exhibits intelligent behaviour and analyses their surrounding environments to create autonomous decisions to a certain extent to accomplish goals as defined by the European Union. When it comes to digital initiatives, Estonia has taken remarkable steps. The AI strategy with over 20 machine learning-based solutions in the public sector, the Estonian government has done good. In the advanced digital society of Estonia, all the citizens are owners of their own data. With regard to this advancement in Artificial Intelligence, the Tallinn Digital Summit was organized on September 16th and 17th.

Nearly 200 experts from 23 digitally-minded countries, the private sector, scientists and diverse country leader had participated in the Tallinn Digital Summit with regard to discussions on the use and application of Artificial Intelligence for public value. There were discussions on the use of Artificial Intelligence on various platforms like smart cities, government operations, healthcare as well as the legal, social and ethical aspects of it.

In the opening ceremony, Jüri Ratas, Prime Minister of Estonia, with regard to the current position of Artificial Intelligence in the world mentioned that Artificial Intelligence has come into present and everyone should learn how to use it to make their lives easier.

When it comes to co-existing with AI

With regard to co-existing with AI, Dr. Ralph-Martin Soe, Founding Director of Smart City CoE and a Senior Researcher at Tallinn University of Technology, Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance stated that Artificial Intelligence is developed to follow the rules whereas individuals are designed to break or redraft the rules. There is an option to either limit human creativity to break the rules as much as possible, or keep the machines in closed environments.

Political and social impacts

This discussion was led by Ben Cerveny, President of the Foundation for Public Code, Stephen Hsu, Senior Vice-President for Research and Innovation and Professor of Theoretical Physics at Michigan State University along with Nanjira Sambulini, Senior Policy Manager at the World Wide Web Foundation.

In this context, Ben remarked that the use of technology always faces a moment when it becomes widely deployed in the society and it turns infrastructural. He also mentioned that circles of innovation with time are becoming highly compressed. Adding on to this Stephen mentioned that individuals are so used to technology that they are slowly becoming completely dependent on them.

Nanjira also stated that in the present scenario there is a disconnection in how the world is presently, as how to position the technical within the social and the political instance without making it seem like we can reorganize the world, but that we can make an effort to frame it nicely within the technologies we are building today.

Climate compatibility

A green pledge was undertaken to initiate steps towards making the world fully sustainable by 2030 and climate neutral too. Focus was paid by the Summit on taking steps towards the achievement of goals laid down in United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development goals. At the Summit, all the Estonian Technology companies joined hands to pursue the goal of environmental sustainability by undertaking a Tech Green Pledge.

An initiative was created for more companies to join in order to be fully Sustainable by 2030. At least 33 tech companies so far have promised to take steps to become fully sustainable by 2030.

Based on research undertaken by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) and Accenture, United Nations has stated that digital technologies have the strong capability to enable a 20% reduction in global carbon emissions by 2030. Also, the World Health Organization stated that Estonia has been successful in securing the best overall air quality in the whole wide world.

Recognition to the European perspective of AI

Michel Van Der Bel, Microsoft President for Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), focused on the European perspective of how the practice of AI is already displaying a viewpoint that can be a big portion of the economy for the future. He mentioned that there has been a growth of 11% in software engineering non-tech than tech. Software engineers are being hired three times faster than mechanical engineers in the auto industry.

He also stated that because of the introduction of Artificial Intelligence everyone desires to build their own company to drive better business outcomes. AI features like machine learning, chatbots, and natural learning processing (NLP) are bringing efficiency and speed as well as evolving business models. Lastly, he stated that by 2030 the European output would face a 2.7 trillion growth.

Education being a core aspect of AI

At the end of the Summit, Maria Rautavirta, Member, Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications, illustrated how awareness of AI is of paramount importance. She stated that a course called “The Elements of AI” by the University of Helsinki, already has seen the participation of more than 200,000 Finns.

Through the medium of this course, people will be encouraged to understand what AI is, what can and what can’t be done with AI, and how to begin creating AI methods with a blend of theory with practical exercises. 

The Summit was concluded by empowering individuals with the understanding of AI. Learning and understanding of AI is what we all need to learn in order to live with AI.

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