Estonian Investment Agency, already awarded by the United Nations as the world’s top investment agency for readiness, innovation, and excellence in supporting the needs of investors during the COVID-19 crisis, has been included in IRCAI’s (The International Research Centre in Artificial Intelligence under the auspices of UNESCO) list of 100 most promising artificial intelligence related solutions for the benefit of humanity.
“We are happy that our extensive and consistent efforts in smart digitalization, including automating some of our work processes, and by that raising the quality of our investment promotion services, have been noticed,” Joonas Vänto, the Director of Estonian Investment Agency (Invest Estonia) said.
Living the e-Estonian dream
“We are glad to, ourselves, use tech in a smart way and live the ‘e-Estonia’ dream that is a part of our core marketing message to promote the world’s smartest investment location, Estonia,” Kata Varblane, the Deputy Director of Marketing and International Relations at Invest Estonia added. “And it’s not a typo, even if we call the country EstonAI.”
Invest Estonia is using technology to help potential foreign investors get to know about business opportunities in Estonia. “Better informing potential investors, we are overcoming one of the market failures that FDI across the globe faces, the problem of asymmetric information among business decision makers,” Andero Kaha, the Digital Services Development Manager at Invest Estonia commented. “As e-Estonia has created a welcoming and accommodating business environment for foreign businesses and made life a lot easier for the local ones, our investment promotion agency’s job is to deal with providing accurate and up to date answers to the two questions that every business planning expansion abroad is facing: why and how.”
Non-human agents help humans be more efficient
To focus on these two questions, Invest Estonia has implemented a set of non-human agents aimed at better, faster and more accurately executed investment promotion activities. These integrated, yet separate non-humans combine various technologies and concepts, such as natural language processing and sales force automation with the single goal of providing potential investors with the information they need, when they need it. During the period of 2019 – 2023, the Investment Agency’s goal is to facilitate 1.3 billion euros of foreign investment and the creation of 5,000 new high added-value jobs across the regions of Estonia.
The agency currently uses a chatbot with multi-website capabilities to handle the primary information needs of potential investors (Suve), smart automation solutions in handling customer enquiries and creating value propositions (Eia), a sales force automation system to help the investment advisors make better decisions and an agent aimed at better internal communication and handling social media (Emma). Chatbot Suve is the same solution that during the COVID-19 related emergency situation in 2020, handled questions related to the spread of the virus and received a lot of positive media attention in the world’s most prominent business media outlets, such as Forbes, Financial Times, etc. The solution, tested in the toughest of crisis situations, has now found a ‘peace-time’ use for consulting those who wish to invest in or relocate to Estonia.
Four projects in the list make Estonia the world’s most successful AI country
Altogether, UNESCO’s top 100 list includes four Estonian projects, making Estonia the country with most listed AI projects per capita.
Estonia’s KrattAI is a vision of how digital public services should work in the age of Artificial Intelligence. KrattAI will be an interoperable network of AI applications, which enable citizens to use public services with Virtual Assistants through text- and voice-based interaction and as a result, achieve the best e-government experience.
Bitskout is an Estonian-founded platform that democratizes access to AI by removing technical barriers to start using it in daily work. Working as a plugin to project management tools (such as Monday and Asana) and utilizing a ‘no-code’ user interface, Bitskout gives a possibility to use A.I. to everyone, thus democratizing access to state-of-the-art technologies.
Yanu’s autonomous, contactless, AI-powered robot bartender aims to change the future of bartending and servicing customers in busy venues around the world. It is fast, compact, standalone, asks no salary, communicates, identifies, and takes payments. According to its creators, it is something that will cut businesses’ costs dramatically and boost their revenues to new highs.
There are currently 80+ artificial intelligence solutions in use in Estonia’s public sector and 300+ AI startups listed in the Estonian Startup Database. Both numbers are consistently growing.
According to a public announcement by IRCAI, its reviewers were specifically looking for presentable solutions that directly or indirectly solve one or more sustainable development problems, including research innovations implemented in these solutions. A strong focus was placed on machine learning, artificial intelligence and research in those fields. According to IRCAI, solutions that are applicable and can credibly solve a real-life problem in development with a considered emphasis on ethics, have been added to the list.
A press event to officially launch the full report will be held in February 2021. We will thoroughly cover all the Estonian AI projects in the list – and a lot more – in the coming weeks.