Ratas: Opportunities presented by AI, data economy must be put to good use ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) speaking at the 2018 Tallinn Digital Summit. 16 October 2018.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) speaking at the 2018 Tallinn Digital Summit. 16 October 2018. Source: Raigo Pajula/Government Office

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas and Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Rene Tammist (SDE) on Tuesday discussed artificial intelligence (AI), data and trade with heads of delegations at the 2018 Tallinn Digital Summit, concluding that states should make better use of the opportunities offered by AI and the data economy.

The prime minister said that the opportunities offered by AI and the data economy should be made better use of on a transnational scale as well, spokespeople for the government told BNS.

"The significance of artificial intelligence in terms of cross-border trade, and particularly the export of services, is growing more and more, because it allows us to study many current processes more accurately," Ratas said. "It is also obvious that we cannot develop AI without access to large volumes of data. Meanwhile, when processing data, we also need to guarantee its security and privacy."

The potential of the data economy should also be put to good use in Europe, according to Ratas. "The free flow of data should be the Europeans' fifth fundamental right," he stressed. "We need to find together the obstacles that impede the use of AI and free flow of data and solve them."

Using data to develop better services is becoming an increasingly important topic in the world. In the EU, the first ever Digital Europe programme for the period of 2021-2027 is being prepared, the budget of which is an estimated €9 billion.

According to Tammist, there is sufficient capability to make better use of data in Estonia as well as in Europe, and the goal should be to reuse and share data that has been gathered, as well as to put to greater use open data by interfacing information systems.

"The more we allow AI to use data for analyses and prognoses, the more useful it is," Tammist explained. "AI's potential for technological development and use for the good of the society is very great." The minister added that the prevention of traffic accidents or health risks is a good example of the potential practical value AI could offer.

European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip provided an overview of developments regarding the digital single market, data, free flow of data and trade in Europe. At a discussion on data trade, director of the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE) Hosuk Lee-Makiyama also gave a presentation to heads of delegations.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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