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Tema: AI

#0065: Global race for AI excellence

Gjest: Ieva Martinkenaite

VP i Telenor Research of Telenor


Med Vert Silvija Seres

Artificial intelligence raises questions about the work of the future, how this will help shape the future of telecom, and what skills are needed to be relevant in AI's age. In this episode of LØRN Silvija talks to the VP of Telenor Research, Ieva Martinkenaite, about the AI  race between Europe VS Canada and the USA, politics, and future skills. Ieva is among the key figures at Telenor Group contributing to building the Artificial Intelligence (AI) research and innovation ecosystem in Norway. She holds several high-profile regional and national appointments in AI. She was instrumental in leading the set-up of the Telenor-NTNU AI-Lab, a national Centre of Excellence for AI and Machine Learning in Norway that aims to transform the country into an AI powerhouse. She also spearheads Telenor’s Start IoT initiative, aimed at stimulating innovation and commercialization of new generation Internet of Things (IoT) in Norway and other Telenor markets. Her work involves research and advisory to Telenor executives and business leaders on AI, Internet of Things (IoT), innovation strategy, and digital partnerships.
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How is AI shaping the future of telcom?

Telcom, similarly to finance, retail, shipping and logistics and other industries, are experiencing a shift in the nature of work due to increased automation, robotization and AI. The routine tasks are being replaced by robots and advanced analytics. Today, the most frequent AI applications in telcom are chatbots for handling customer interface, preventive maintenance of network operations (including handling of security threats), personalised marketing and sales tips.

What types of training or skills are needed to stay relevant in the era of AI?

I would distinguish four types of skills that will be critical for the next generation of the workforce: 1) Basic digital skills will be required for life and work to benefit fully from an increasingly digital and automated world. 2) Technical skills, in particular coding, data science and engineering, but also specific technical skills required for medicine or other professions, digital marketing. 3) Higher-order cognitive skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, data-driven decision making. 4) Social and emotional skills, like empathy, interpersonal communication, negotiations and partnering, entrepreneurship and innovation.

What can governments and policy makers do to ensure that the workforce remains relevant for the age of AI?

Large-scale investments into new skills and education of the next generation workforce will be essential to survive in the AI game. Since many governments consider similar initiatives in their AI plans, strategic and long-term view on that will be important for policy makers in a given country. What is your take on where Europe currently stands on AI visà- vis Asia?

AI is a global race for excellence, where US and China are dominating today. Canada is increasingly topping up the charts. It is fair to say that both Europe and South East Asia are lagging behind in terms of private and public investments into AI research and education. Talents are the most scarce resource in that race, and this is where both regions are losing to global Internet giants in the US and China. The most viable AI start-up and innovation ecosystems are outside those regions today. Largest M&A transactions are also made in the US and China. What is also fair to say is that both European and South East Asian countries have put AI ambitions high on their political agendas and started pulling out national AI plans in search for unique ways to compete in the AI race. Three things are common, though. First, building on the regions´ (and countries´) industrial strengths and comparative advantages are considered a viable AI strategy. Second, a concerted (regional) action is seen as a strength in the global AI race. Third, there are unique vulnerabilities for AI adoption in Europe and in Asia that reflect national debates and shape AI strategies, accordingly.

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ENTERPRISE

This is what you will learn:

AI in a global perspective
Politics in AI
The labor market of the future

The United States and China dominate the global Al race today, with Canada right behind. Where are Europe and Southeast Asia when it comes to private and public investment in Al research and education? Talents are the most scarce resource in this race, and this is where both lose against the global Internet giants in the US and China. Both European and Southeast Asian countries have put Al's ambitions high on their political agendas and begun to pull out national Al's plans to find unique ways to compete in the Al race.

- Ieva Martinkenaite

This is Telenor

Telenor Research is Telenor Group’s corporate unit for scientific research. They play a key role in providing insight and competence that enable Telenor to become a software and data-driven company. The unit conducts research within key areas, including customer insight, data analytics, machine learning, innovation, digital services, new technologies and market dynamics.