Estonia’s Chief Data Officer to update world on country’s AI strategy at AI for Good

November 9, 2020


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Just over a year ago, the Estonian government approved an ambitious national strategy aimed at implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) throughout its society, both in the private and public sectors. 

This Tuesday, November 10 from 2PM – 3:30PM CET, the country’s Chief Data Officer Ott Velsberg will keynote a presentation at AI for Good, in which he’ll update the world on Estonia’s progress and provide key learnings for other societies about successes and improvement areas. 

The strategy earmarked €10 million from 2019-2021 to help spur research and development, build a legal framework for AI and help spur adoption and implementation of AI in the public and private sectors. 

Some public sector-focused initiatives proposed in 2019 included creating data governance tools; defining principles for responsible data use; launching data science training modules for public sector workers; and developing sandboxes to test public sector AI tools. 

In the private sector, the government outlined plans to create grants and other funding opportunities for private sector AI product development; encourage collaboration between companies and research institutions on AI projects; and create AI training programmes for enterprises, among many others. 

Changes to the country’s education system about AI are also in the works. The strategy planned to commission a “specialised Master of Science study programme in the field of Data Science, including artificial intelligence”; provide funding for research groups focused on AI and machine learning (ML) as well as data science and big data and robot-human cooperation; and begin to include AI in the curriculum for general education schools. 

Image Credit: AI for Good

Another lofty initiative that Mr. Velsberg will address at the Summit will be #KrattAI, which the country describes as an “interoperable network of AI applications, which enable citizens to use public services with virtual assistants through voice-based interaction.” The aim is to provide citizens with an interactive digital helper to aid them in exercising some of the services the government provides such as renewing passports or drivers licences. 

Leading the discussion with Mr. Velsberg will be Reinhard Scholl, the Deputy to the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) at the Internatialonal Telecommunication Union (ITU). 

Reinhard Scholl, Image Credit: YPO

The AI for Good series is the leading action-oriented, global and inclusive United Nations platform on AI. The Summit is organized every year in Geneva by the ITU with XPRIZE Foundation in partnership with over 35 sister United Nations agencies, Switzerland and ACM. 

Due to COVID-19, the format of the Summit has been adapted to an all-virtual setting with keynote presentations, workshops and panel discussions held throughout the year. The mission of the platform is to identify practical applications of AI and scale those solutions for positive global impact.

The series explores AI applications for health and infectious disease, environmental impact initiatives, financial services and financial inclusion initiatives as well as the technology’s impact on a variety of other sectors including the arts, telecommunications and government.


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