e-Estonia (AI)

Being the world’s one and only Digital Republic and “E-nation”, Estonia has given an entirely different outlook on what a truly human-centric society entails for digital citizens. Under the government’s flagship program e-Estonia, which has leveraged AI and advanced technologies to take the country full digital, programs such as e-Governance, e-Tax, e-Voting, e-Health and e-Residency have completly digitized and reinvented societal life in the nation. Indeed, 99% of government services are available online––a statistic that has yet to be matched by any other nation. Therefore, AI powered social innovation is the rule rather than the exception in Estonia, it is second nature.

2 thoughts on “e-Estonia (AI)

  1. shinichi Post author

    How The EU Is Leading The Way In AI Powered Social Innovation

    by Mark Minevich

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/markminevich/2021/01/18/how-the-eu-is-leading-the-way-in-ai-powered-social-innovation/

    The year 2020 will forever continue to invoke memories of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Nevertheless, 2020 will also be cemented into the history books as the digital inflection point that finally revealed to the world the significance of social innovation and the human-centric approach. In 2020, cross-industry AI adoption skyrocketed like never before, as people-oriented solutions became the sole focus and priority of technology entrepreneurs, enterprises and governments. These rapid advancements have undoubtedly spilled over into 2021, establishing it as the Year of AI-powered Social Innovation. Not only that, but forward looking EU countries––Denmark, Slovenia and Estonia in particular––have taken this slogan seriously. For long, the EU has been known as a global champion of social solutions aimed at improving the lives of citizens. However, the events of 2020 combined with massive public-private efforts and a mutual understanding of the need to innovate with AI for a better future ultimately propelled the EU to the top of the social innovation ladder and digital government.

    The EU has launched a series of forward-thinking programs and funds that are geared towards social innovation and technology, such as Horizon Europe, InvestEU, the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) and European Social Fund (ESF), among many others. One of the most impressive efforts is the Horizon Europe program, which will run from 2021 to 2027. The EU Commission has allocated a proposed budget of €100 billion for the project, which will serve to advance research and innovation throughout the region. According to a document by the EU Commission, “Europe can shape its future through research and innovation by Focusing research and innovation on the ecological, social and economic transitions and related societal challenges, Leveraging Europe’s scientific strengths into leadership in breakthrough and disruptive innovation, Setting ambitious goals for issues that affect us daily, such as skills development, the fight against cancer, harmful emissions, and the state of the oceans, including plastics, and Focusing on cutting-edge research and innovation projects spanning from research and innovation to deployment.” In addition, under the preceding program, Horizon 2020, the EU Commission had already set out to increase its annual AI investments by 70%––prior funding that in conjunction with the present Horizon Europe initiative will truly shape the EU as a socially innovative AI powerhouse.

    In addition to Horizon Europe, InvestEU is another ambitious effort focused on catapulting the EU to the top of the AI Social Innovation ladder. According to the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA), “Through the InvestEU Fund, the European Commission will provide an EU guarantee of €38 billion, divided over four windows which define the policy areas that InvestEU supports: Sustainable Infrastructure (€11.5 billion); Research, Innovation and Digitalization (€11.25 billion); Small and Medium Businesses (€11.25 billion), and Social Investment and Skills (€4 billion).”

    Evidently, the EU has made major strides in AI-powered social innovation. However, within Europe, there are a handful of key players that are impacting the ecosystem the most: Denmark, Slovenia and Estonia. The Danish Government in particular has taken the application of artificial intelligence to improve social well being seriously. Denmark is ready to adopt the full benefits of social innovation. As per the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, “By 2025, the vision is to be a world leader in responsible and ethical use of AI – where the right to privacy, security and transparency takes first place.” In addition, the government has set forth a budget of 200 million EURO specifically towards AI and digitization projects. The governmental objectives of Denmark are founded upon AI for social good. Coupled with artificial intelligence, initiatives like RESEARCH2025, the International Arctic Hub, and Innovation Fund Denmark (IFD), all of which are focused upon environmental resilience and economic sustainability, will enable Denmark to attain ambitious goals of 70% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and attain fossil-free status by 2050, among many others. Moreover, Denmark’s strong hub of independent organizations like Sustainia, led by Founder and Chairman Erik Rasmussen, are helping to raise awareness about Sustainable AI and digitalization for good and assist the nation’s implementation of social innovation objectives. According to Tracxn, there are at least 127 AI startups in Denmark.

    In addition to Denmark, Slovenia is also a significant influencer of the EU’s social innovation scene. For starters, Slovenia has a long history of tech-fueled social innovation. Ever since the founding of the Jozef Stefan Institute in 1949, Slovenia prioritized investments into Science and Tech R&D––a trend that has continued to this day. In fact, Slovenia has set up Europe’s very first UNESCO-backed International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI), a major and historic step forward in advancing the country’s human-centric AI objectives. Among the many projects the nation is focused on, some of the most impressive AI-backed social efforts include the “Digital Twin” monitoring system, Europe’s first blockchain test infrastructure, and the co-launching of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) initiative on responsible AI development.

    Lastly, being the world’s one and only Digital Republic and “E-nation”, Estonia has given an entirely different outlook on what a truly human-centric society entails for digital citizens. Under the government’s flagship program e-Estonia, which has leveraged AI and advanced technologies to take the country full digital, programs such as e-Governance, e-Tax, e-Voting, e-Health and e-Residency have completly digitized and reinvented societal life in the nation. Indeed, 99% of government services are available online––a statistic that has yet to be matched by any other nation. Therefore, AI powered social innovation is the rule rather than the exception in Estonia, it is second nature.

    To conclude, thanks to the multitude of EU programs and dedicated funding towards social innovation, as well as the powerful objectives being executed by Denmark, Slovenia and Estonia in the same arena, we can expect a bright future for AI powered social innovation in the EU. Now is the prime time to create social innovation AI venture funds in the EU to source, fund, mature and scale more startups and solutions in the EU so we could really focus on the human-centric approach to innovation.

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