In an interview concerning Estonia’s AI strategy for the e-Estonia Briefing Centre’s Youtube channel, Sikkut emphasized the possibility of AI helping in analysis and making better decisions in many really different fields: health, transportation, police work.
Adoption as a keyword
According to Sikkut, AI does not necessarily mean making huge investments in tech but more often the question to use AI or not is based on the public sector’s will to start using it. One of the keywords is adoption – starting to use AI technology that is already there.
Currently, AI models are already being applied in Estonia’s public sector, for example, to detect cyber incidents, to match unemployed people with relevant job openings, to analyse satellite images to detect if grants have been properly used in agriculture, to optimize transportation and policework, etc.
Watch the video on what the Estonian AI strategy is all about and how it is related to the mythological creature “kratt” below:
Not just a vision for the future
The AI Expert Team, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Government Office recently presented the action plan to promote the use of artificial intelligence (AI). An analysis was conducted and possible solutions provided to develop Estonia’s legal environment to make sure there is enough legal clarity in the field and that artificial intelligence acts in a safe way.
In Estonian sources, artificial agents are often referred to as “kratts”, named after mythological creatures known from Estonian folklore, helping their owners gather wealth without doing any work.
“’Kratts’ or artificial intelligence solutions are not a vision for the future any more – they are in use in our phones, internet services and other services around us,” the government CIO and head of the Estonia’s AI Expert Team Siim Sikkut said.
“It is time to make a plan how to benefit from them in Estonia as the technology is something potentially very useful. The ‘kratt’ project confirmed us that AI has the potential needed to help our economy’s productivity to grow and bring the government services to a whole new level.”
AI solutions are in use in different fields, both in the private and public sector, helping with otherwise time consuming and routine tasks such as optimizing data, predicting future developments and making recommendations. There is a great variety of “kratts” from chat bots in the private service sector to bots analyzing the use of agricultural land in the public sector.
Bringing the public sector to the next level
“The goal of the action plan for ‘kratts’ in Estonia’s public sector is to bring the e-state to the next level – take more ‘kratts’ into use, make practical tools for ‘kratt’-creation available and start using more flexible means for financing the creation of kratts,” Sikkut said.
According to him, Estonia has the chance to be the world-leader in state-run artificial intelligence. In the private sector there are already really successful companies developing AI solutions – their work needs to be supported even more than now.
The report created by the AI expert team also concluded that there are legal aspects to be considered, such as preventing the creation of malicious “kratts” or clarifying who holds the responsibility.
From the Estonian Investment Agency, there are two members in the AI Expert Team, Raido Lember and Allan Selirand.