At the Web Summit in Lisbon on Wednesday, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) called upon entrepreneurs, start-ups and investors to see Estonia as a fruitful testing ground for implementing new ideas.
"Smart and innovative Estonia is more than willing to test new ideas and technologies," Ratas said according to a government press release, addressing the top entrepreneurs in the tech world. "Estonia has the required flexible judicial area and a capable development community. Together, we can create a digital society of the new generation."
According to the prime minister, Estonia currently aims to develop a testing environment for two future technologies: artificial intelligence and self-driving vehicles. Since March 2017, Estonian legislation permits testing self-driving vehicles on all national and local roads.
"Self-driving vehicles are essentially robots on wheels, i.e. artificial intelligence," he noted. "That means that this spring, we took a step closer to legalizing artificial intelligence. At the same time, the group of experts assembled by the Government Office was aware that mobility is only the tip of the iceberg of future artificial intelligence applications. In the future, it will connect to many more areas, which is why we began creating a judicial area which is suitable for the application of artificial intelligence."
According to Ratas, new, more efficient, and more convenient services can be created with the help of artificial intelligence, such as self-driving vehicles, which could help people with mobility disabilities or special needs to participate in social life, for example. "People spending hours in traffic every day could save valuable time," he contnued. "New markets and opportunities would be open to entrepreneurs."
At the Web Summit, the Estonian prime minister discussed the testing of self-driving vehicles and the development of artificial intelligence with representatives of the Toyota Research Institute / Toyota AI Ventures, Sentient Technology, and Seguru.
During his meeting with Interpol president Meng Hongwei, the two discussed the compatibility of the different information systems of the area of internal security and ensuring cybersecurity, which is a priority of the Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union. They also discussed cooperation between governments and law enforcement authorities in fighting modern-day threats, such as terrorism, cyber threats, and hybrid threats.
"A digital environment can only be implemented if people trust digital services, data can be used by the people, and the use of said data is controlled," Ratas noted. "Therefore, cybersecurity must always accompany development. Eliminating the security risk of ID cards, the cornerstone of Estonian digital society, before the risk could be taken advantage of reminds us that innovation, which supports development, and cautiousness are inseparable".
At the Web Summit, Ratas also met with former French President François Hollande, Chemi Peres, co-founder of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, as well as PipeDrive and Protect-ID, two Estonian companies participating in the conference.
Editor: Aili Vahtla