5 interesting facts about artificial intelligence in Denmark

In our latest contribution, Patrycja Hala Saςan, Marketing Specialist at BotXO, tells us how Denmark has become an artificial intelligence hub and why it should be consider as a tech frontrunner.

The use of technology benefits almost all industries and people’s lives around the world. In many countries, technological advancement is a significant driver of economic growth. Among top countries leading artificial intelligence (AI) race are China, the USA, the United Kingdom, Canada and Russia. However, smaller countries like Denmark, do their best to join the competition to become a global leader in the digital revolution. Denmark has already become an artificial intelligence hub and enjoys a leading position in the digitization process in Europe. Read on to get to know more about Denmark’s digital project. 

1. Danish government aims to make Denmark the frontrunner in the development and use of AI

In 2019, the Danish government announced a new AI strategy. The program aims to help local companies to become more innovative and public services more efficient and productive by using AI. The Danish AI strategy includes 20 different initiatives in four areas such as a “responsible foundation for AI, access to more and better data, strong competences and new knowledge, increased investments emphasizing healthcare, energy and utilities, agriculture and transport”.

The Danish government expects AI to improve ways businesses operate by creating new transport routes, which would reduce the time spent on logistics. The innovative technology could also assist banks, insurance companies or public institutions by identifying errors in reports. Moreover, the strategy aims at using AI to improve the healthcare system. Quicker diagnosis of illnesses could make people’s lives healthier and longer. 

On the other hand, citizens might take advantage of AI at their homes through tailoring and reducing energy consumption. Last not least, Denmark expects to reshape the customer experience.

BotXO at Web Summit Lisbon
Nytårskur at Dansk Industri (Confederation of Danish Industry). First on the left, Henrik Fabrin, CEO at BotXO.

2. Denmark’s budget for AI research accounted for 3.1 billion Euro in 2019

Danish government pays special attention to the process of digitalization of the public sector. The budget for public research accounted for 3.1 billion Euro (23 billion DKK) in 2019.  AI-oriented research is becoming a priority, ensuring the country’s impact on the development of AI in years to come. To make this happen, Denmark welcomes talented researchers that would take Danish AI to the next level. Further, the government wants researchers to get better and easier access to high-quality data to make their work more effective. 

All of this is to improve the Danish economy. According to the report from 2019 by The Innovation Fund Denmark, McKinsey & Company and the University of Copenhagen, by 2030 AI is expected to lift the Danish economy by 35 billion DKK annually in additional GDP.

3. Denmark experiences AI talent deficit 

AI is changing how people work, bringing new demands as well as new opportunities. However, AI in Denmark faces some obstacles. The country needs educated, skilled individuals within the field of computer science.

The lack of employees with desirable skillset might impede AI development. Consequently, the growth of many startups in Denmark is restricted due to talent deficit.

Statistics show that 60% of companies in Denmark admits that they face difficulties in finding IT specialists. Many graduates, as well as researchers, leave Denmark to work in other countries. US is one of the leading destinations of many individuals looking for a career in AI.

Nevertheless, Denmark tries to find a way to increase the pool of the future AI workforce. Danish universities try to attract talented young people with exciting AI engineering programs. The training might open a way to work, among others, in the medico-pharmaceutical industry, manufacturing, banking, IT, and the transport sector. 

4. Denmark wants to develop responsible AI

AI might bring many benefits. Yet, it might pose risks too. For that reason, Denmark wants to develop AI according to ethics and values universal for Danish society such as trust and democratic principles.

The national AI strategy emphasizes that the algorithms must be objective, fair and impartial. In other words, AI must threat people equally regardless of their gender, ethnic origins, religion, or disability. For that reason, Denmark wants to use AI as an addition to human decision-making rather than its substitution. In this way, the government can develop a responsible use of artificial intelligence. 

Beatrice Carraro (Head of Marketing) and Jens Dahl Møllerhøj (Lead Data Scientist) of BotXO

To achieve that level of fairness and responsibility, Denmark does not want to replicate the US’s or China’s AI strategies by investing heavily into AI with little or no regards to ethical, democratic principles or privacy. To enforce those objectives, AI must be used within the relevant legislation and for the respect of human rights. Businesses and public institutions are expected to focus on data ethics, security and transparency.

A remarkable difference between Denmark and many other countries, is that Denmark enjoys the support of the significant part of the society. According to Statistics Denmark from 2017, 83% of Danes have strong confidence in public authorities using personal information. It is quite logical therefore, to draw the conclusion that citizens assume that the government will act in their interest and will strive to protect their rights and their data.

5. Prominent AI projects are transforming work and life in Denmark

Denmark is already enjoying the advancements in AI field. There are several notable projects, which show a massive potential of Denmark in improving business operations as well as living conditions. 

EcoSense develops methods to measure whether strategies of energy reduction achieve their goals as well as finds new ways to reduce our footprint on the environment.

Hearing Systems Project at DTU Health Tech developed hearing aid system by focusing on audio and machine learning.

The Chain Project in the City of Aarhus tries to use AI to analyze large volumes of water consumption data to minimize the energy consumption of pump water. 

DABAI (Danish Center for Big Data Analysis Driven Innovation) is a collaboration project between educational institutions, business and state institutions, which tries to develop techniques for big data analysis which might serve businesses and society in the future. 

Denmark represents a great example of how a small country can become a leader in AI and digitization processes. The government’s investment in AI research, innovative startups and society welcoming technological advancements will certainly keep Denmark amongst the digital frontrunners in the future.

Patrycja Hala Sacan

Patrycja Hala Saçan, Marketing Specialist at BotXO.

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