The first base component for artificial intelligence (AI) based applications, which all parties from the public and private sectors alike are free to use and develop in accordance with their needs, has reached the source code repository of the Estonian state.
"Relying on common solutions in places where there's no point in reinventing the wheel has been one of the mainstays of the Estonian digital state," Government Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Deputy Secretary-General for IT and Telecom Siim Sikkut said in a Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications press release.
"This is how X-Road and the digital identity were born, for instance, which made developing e-services several times faster and easier for everyone," Sikkut continued. "Now we want to bring the same platform-based approach and acceleration into the field of AI, and I'm glad that the first step in that direction has been taken."
The first base component for AI-based solutions added to the source code repository is a text analysis tool created by Texta OÜ, which has been used by many institutions to date for increasing the effectiveness of their work processes and the automation of routine activities.
The Ministry of Education and Research, for example, uses the tool for the audit of document management aimed at identifying documents which have gone public without permission.
Using Texta, the Ministry of Justice in cooperation with the Centre of Registers and Information Systems (RIK) stripped personal data from nearly 80,000 judicial decisions involving expunged punishments and thereafter made the decisions available in the court information system again.
Sikkut said that the goal is to have at least seven such base components available to all parties, including the private sector, by the end of 2020.
Sandbox created for cooperation
To develop said solution, a new form of cooperation was established under the leadership of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications in the form of a technology sandbox for cooperation in IT development between the public and private sectors.
"Not all innovation in the digital state has to take place via procurements alone, or depend on the wisdom of the state as the contracting authority," the CIO added.
"With the sandbox framework, we are opening up the possibility for cooperation in development in whose framework a company, university or individual developer can create as part of the already existing digital state a complementary or completely new solution together with a customer from the state, as a result of which the state will obtain the developed new solution for broader free use," he explained. "On the back of the reference of Estonia as a developed digital state, the creator of the solution can then go on to sell it all over the world."
The goal of the source code repository launched in spring 2019 is community-driven development of the e-government, and the open source code repository is the cornerstone thereof. Excepting cases affected by security reasons, the source codes deposited in the repository are open to the public.
One of the main directions of the Estonian national action plan for the implementation of AI is the testing, commissioning, and making available by the state base components of AI-based standard applications that would speed up the implementation of AI-based solutions.
Editor: Aili Vahtla