State of AI in Finland: public sector is the pacemaker, and more than 1200 companies are using artificial intelligence on a daily basis

As part of Finland’s AI Accelerator FAIA, Silo AI, together with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland, Technology Industries of Finland, research organization FCAI, Business Finland and other key members of the Finnish AI ecosystem*, are today publishing a report on the state of AI in Finland.

1200 companies and 25 concrete use cases of AI to inspire

The report shows that the number of Finnish companies using artificial intelligence has more than tripled in three years, increasing to over 1200 companies using AI on a daily basis. In order to exemplify the current use of AI, the publication highlights 25 examples of the use of artificial intelligence in practice.

Artificial intelligence improves people's daily lives in many ways: machine learning is well suited to cases where the data changes and updates constantly, and that are affected by, for example, weather variations. Such applications include intelligent forecasting of district heat demand, transport of packages, and forecasting of weather-related delays in air traffic.

“The report is flattering to Finland as many international studies about the global state of artificial intelligence recognize Finland as one of the top countries in AI readiness. The national AI strategy and public accelerating efforts are praised. Public organizations – like the Finnish public service broadcasting company Yle, the national post Posti, and Helsinki region energy company Helen – have significantly invested in AI.” says Alexander Törnroth, Lead at Finland’s AI Accelerator.

Companies that systematically invest in AI are tightening their pace of adoption

However, the report also raises a concern about whether those that invest in AI now, leave others behind for good:

“Although adoption of AI has increased, Finnish companies feel that the biggest obstacle for wider use is the lack of understanding of the opportunities for using artificial intelligence to grow the business.” says Törnroth. “Another thing that slows companies down is the deficiency of data. Often useful data could be gathered from different functions of the organization, but this would require thorough mapping of the possible data sources.”

According to a study conducted by Suomen Yrittäjät, the largest business association in Finland, companies who already have invested in digitalization are more likely to continue to do so in the future. The same phenomenon extends to AI investments: forerunner who started systematic investments in AI five years ago have only tightened the pace of adoption.

This is problematic in Törnroth’s opinion: “We should take this dichotomy seriously. We need more relatable examples of the use cases of AI to spark up the imagination.”

Key findings of the State of AI in Finland-report

  • Knowledge development in Finland is internationally top-notch and e.g. Oxford Insights has ranked Finland as one of the TOP 5 countries regarding AI readiness.
  • The 2020 Global Startup Ecosystem Report mentions Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, area one of the most significant concentrations of AI.
  • Finnish public sector is a very active user of AI applications.
  • 3.15% of the Finnish companies with more than five employees utilize AI. This number has tripled from 2017 (0.9%).
  • The biggest obstacles for investments are the lack of understanding of artificial intelligence's application possibilities and the lack of know-how and data.
  • According to the State of AI study, in August 2020, more than 1,240 companies are applying artificial intelligence in Finland, of which about 750 companies also develop artificial intelligence themselves. More than 400 artificial intelligence start-ups in Finland and about 50 more start-ups are set up every year.
  • Artificial intelligence investments tend to pile up in a relatively small number of companies, and the ones that have already invested in AI are more likely to invest than the ones that have not.
  • The impact of Covid-19 crisis is reflected in companies' developing artificial intelligence, dividing the market into winners and losers.
  • In particular, companies providing consulting services have increased their turnover, while those developing AI products have had difficulties acquiring new customers. Companies also report a slowdown in their product development due to working remotely.

Artificial intelligence is visible in the daily lives of people and companies

From a consumer perspective, artificial intelligence enables a personalized user experience. An excellent example of this is Yle Areena, which uses artificial intelligence extensively in the production and recommendation of content as well as in improving the user experience. Recommendation engines are also spreading to the business world, covering dynamic pricing and invoicing systems to name a few.

Other, indirect ways of improving everyday life through artificial intelligence can be found from Helen’s district heating optimization system. An improved forecasting of district heating reduces the need for over-compensated production, that can eventually lead to reduced heating prices for consumers and more sustainable energy production.

*The State of AI in Finland offers a comprehensive report that describes the AI readiness, expertise, and usage in Finland, and creates a common vision for the Finnish AI scene. The report showcases 25 practical examples of using AI. The report has been put together by: Finland’s AI Accelerator, The Technology Industries of Finland, Vake, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland, Business Finland, AI research organization FCAI, Reaktor and Silo AI. The first version of the report will be in English, and it will later be published in Finnish.

More information

Alexander Törnroth, Finland’s AI Accelerator

Pauliina Alanen
Former Head of Brand
Silo AI
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Pauliina Alanen

Former Head of Brand

Silo AI

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