Artificial Intelligence for Estonia
In May 2019, an expert group led by Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (MKM) and Government Office presented proposals on advancing the take-up of artificial intelligence (AI) in Estonia aka for Estonia’s national AI strategy.
This current strategy has been prepared based on these proposals, as a plan on how to implement the expert group’s recommendations. It was adopted at Cabinet meeting on 25 July 2019.
The strategy is a sum of actions that Estonian government will take to advance the take-up of AI in both private and public sector, to increase the relevant skills and research and development (R&D) base as well as to develop the legal environment. According to the current strategy and based on existing knowledge, Estonian government will invest at least 10M euros in 2019-2021 to implementation of AI strategy in its different directions.
Estonia’s national artificial intelligence strategy for the period 2019-2021 is available here.
Report of Estonia's AI Taskforce is available here.
What Is Bürokratt?
It is first a vision of how public services should digitally work in the age of artificial intelligence (AI).
Bürokratt would be an opportunity for people to use public direct and informational services by voice-based interaction with AI-based virtual assistants.
Bürokratt would not simply be an IT development project to create Estonian governmental virtual assistant aka AI-based interface to use public services – although this might be necessary as an interim step. Instead, the concept of Bürokratt would allow people to get their governmental deeds done from any device and any majorly used virtual assistant in the future.
Thus, Bürokratt will be an interoperable network of public sector AI applications (agents, bots, assistants, etc) as well as private sector ones, which would work from the user perspective as a single, united channel for accessing public direct and informational services. Alternatively, you can call Bürokratt an ecosystem of interoperable AI applications to provide or access digital public services.
Kratts = AI in Estonia
In Estonian mythology, a Kratt is a magical creature. Essentially, Kratt was a servant built from hay or old household items. Therefore, the Estonian government uses this character as a metaphor for AI and its complexities.
Even though most of the currently used artificial intelligence applications are not very complex, we can already clearly see that significant changes will take place over the next few years.
Read more about kratts in Estonia:
Current state of AI in Estonia
As of October 2020 there are at least 41 AI solutions deployed in the Estonian public sector, with a goal of having at least 50 AI use cases by 2020. Similarly, Estonian companies are already using kratts in several business areas for optimising business processes, automating customer service, in product quality control, risk mitigation, and elsewhere.
There is no need for substantial changes in the basics of the legal system. Both now and in the foreseeable future, kratts are and will be human tools, meaning that they perform tasks determined by humans and express the intention of humans directly or indirectly (also if the human has granted seemingly large “freedom” to the kratt). Today, there are no known so-called super agents that are able to operate independently and have intentions independent of humans, so the subjects of the legal regulations are humans.
For the sake of legal clarity, it should be ensured that when exercising public powers or performing other public tasks, the actions of a kratt will be attributed to the state through the company or body that used the kratt in the meaning of state liability. In private relationships, for both natural and legal persons, the kratt's actions should be considered the actions of the kratt's user. Matters related to criminal liability need to be expanded, e.g. to include kratts and their use by expanding the definition of instrumental execution.
Benefits of implementation of AI
Implementation of artificial intelligence could have various benefits for Estonia. In the public sector, it would allow us to increase the user-centeredness of services, improve the process of data analysis, and make the country work more efficiently by achieving the goals of developing the e-government. Artificial intelligence can also play an important role in the digital revolution of the industry and attract new investments and innovation activity to Estonia – developers of technology are searching for a development and test environment that favours artificial intelligence solutions.