The main funding has come from Sweden’s innovation agency, Vinnova, and the agency’s director general, Darja Isaksson, expresses some of Vinnova’s thoughts about how this initiative will meet society’s needs.
“Sweden needs to focus its efforts on research and innovation within AI in order to enhance its long-term competitiveness and its opportunities to develop solutions that meet important needs in society,” said Darja Isaksson.
“AI Innovation of Sweden represents an important piece of the puzzle as it is a nationally cohesive structure with multiple geographical nodes. Now the first, western node is in place. Together with other nodes with different profiles, this initiative is helping to advance Sweden's position,” said Isaksson in conclusion.
AI Innovation of Sweden is a national and neutral initiative which is intended to function as an engine in the Swedish AI ecosystem. The focus is on accelerating implementation of AI by means of sharing knowledge and data, co-location and collaboration projects, all with a strong focus on ethics, transparency and security. AI Innovation of Sweden establishes shared resources, for example the “Data Factory”, which will make data available in a new and unique way, and “Co-Location sites” with the aim of improving collaboration, knowledge-sharing and the ability to attract talent. Over 40 organisations and companies - from the industrial and academic worlds and the public sector - have signed up so far, and more are expected.
The Minister for Energy and Digitalisation, Anders Ygeman emphasised the significance of the centre.
“Sweden should be the best in the world at using the opportunities presented by digitalisation. AI Innovation of Sweden is an important part of making this a reality,”said Anders Ygeman.
Lindholmen Science Park AB has the role of host for AI Innovation of Sweden, and it is clear that there is considerable interest in the initiative.
“The will and the need to be a part of an ecosystem has been very evident from the hundreds of discussions we have had during the preparatory work for AI Innovation of Sweden. The tremendous commitment we have had from industry, the academic world and the public sector is now giving us the opportunity to establish a substantial and valuable resource for Sweden and for Swedish industry,”says Martin Svensson, Co-director, AI Innovation of Sweden, Lindholmen Science Park.
The opening ceremony also saw the launch in Sweden of the free on-line training course “Elements of AI”, with the aim of accelerating the level of knowledge within AI. The course has the backing of the University of Helsinki and Reaktor, a Finnish IT consultancy firm. So far over 1% of Finland’s population and a total of 130,000 students have started on the course. Vinnova is financing a translation into Swedish together with the launch in Sweden, and AI Innovation of Sweden is coordinating involvement by Swedish industry, the academic world and the public sector.
“Because AI affects everyone, one of the most pressing issues is to increase understanding of and knowledge about AI. Elements of AI will allow us to significantly improve AI expertise in Sweden. I am looking forward to the challenge and to getting even more people in Sweden to take the course than in Finland!” says Fredrik Heintz, AI researcher at Linköping University, the academic partner in Elements of AI.
Following the opening ceremony, Anders Ygeman unlocked the doors to AI Innovation of Sweden’s new co-location premises.