Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to change people’s lives in many aspects: business, education, politics, healthcare, and others. In 2018, the global artificial intelligence market was valued at $24.9, with the projected annual growth at 46.2% between 2018 and 2025. The new technologies have long ceased to be exotic sci-fi fantasy material: the same year, 37% of organizations used artificial intelligence in one form or another. This essay overviews the state of artificial intelligence in Finland and explains how this Northern European country has become a trailblazer and innovator in the last few years.
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The first major driver behind the development of AI technologies is the startup environment and the support of the scientific development of a given country. AI technologies evolve rapidly, which makes their adoption easier for businesses with less rigid structures such as startups. Finnish society is highly supportive of entrepreneurship and has built Silicon Valley-inspired culture. The Northern European country is committed to innovation, research, and development (R & D) at all levels and both in the public and private sectors. According to recent statistics, 3% of all people work in R & D functions, which is a significant share compared to other countries. In absolute numbers, Finland houses 7,482 scientists while the US employs only 3,979, even though the latter country is much bigger than the former. Globally, based on the number of AI startups per capita, Finland ranks second, only surpassed by Switzerland. To sum up, Finland has enough qualified cadres and resources to advance AI development.
The second characteristic that predisposes Finland to be one of the leaders of AI advancement in the world is political support and collaborations. In 2017, the Government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä made AI one of the key points of its new digital development program, thus, recognizing the powerful potential of the new approach. The Government showed intention to apply AI to a variety of aspects: finances, investment, security, labor market, education, and many more. Authorities envision that the application of AI will boost business competitiveness and steer business processes into a human-centric decision. To achieve the ambitious goals, four subgroups were created for overviewing innovation, ethics, data economy, and social transformation. The geographical position of Finland next to equally strong neighbors allows for cooperation with other leaders of the AI revolution: Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. The Nordic and Baltic regions are said to be uniting their forces to digitize their key sectors and exchange experience.
The global artificial intelligence market is extremely fragmented and uneven, with some countries surpassing others in their ability to adopt the new technologies. Finland is a country in the North of Europe that, despite its small size and population, has demonstrated vast resources to develop AI and set ambitious goals for the years to come. One of the major predispositions for the success of AI in Finland is its vibrant entrepreneurial culture and startup scene. The country boasts a large number of qualified cadres that work in research and development and advance the scientific cause. On top of that, Finland is led by officials who recognize the importance of artificial intelligence in the modern world. AI has been acknowledged to be instrumental in innovating all public and private sectors. Lastly, continuous cooperation with other developed countries helps to accelerate digitization.