By Roger Fawcett, NBCC Council Member

It’s hard to pick up a newspaper, look at Facebook or scan LinkedIn these days without reading about how AI is poised to transform all business sectors – manufacturing, oil and gas, engineering, financial services, government, retail and automobile production to name but a few. For all these fiercely competitive sectors artificial intelligence (AI) holds the tantalizing prospect of not just unprecedented productivity gains and customer service improvements but also business model reinvention.

Think machine learning which allows computers to learn directly from examples, data and experiences without them being explicitly programmed as has been the case to date.  The UK and Norway both have an impressive track record on AI and they both want to stay at the forefront of these powerful new technologies.

For example, in the UK the government have recently released The AI Sector Deal worth in excess of £1 billion and amongst other initiatives it aims to help the UK seize the estimated £230 billion AI offers in the UK by 2028 and 1000 government funded AI PhD’s will keep the UK at the forefront of innovation. Cambridge University has recently opened a new £10 million supercomputer facility making its infrastructure available to businesses.

In Norway Telenor for example have developed a national strategy which will promote the level of ambition, direction and product development of AI which is necessary for Norway to compete in this global AI opportunity. Telenor and NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) have recently opened Norway’s new powerhouse for artificial intelligence in Trondheim. This new centre is the Telenor – NTNU AI Lab. According to Sigve Brekke, President and CEO of Telenor Group “AI is perhaps the single most important technology of the century. AI will drive your car, revolutionise cancer treatment and make public services more efficient. With this opening we want to accelerate the education, research and competency building which will be crucial for Norway’s ability to compete in the AI and digital future.”

Roger Fawcett

NBCC Council Member