Artificial intelligence (AI) will change the digital world just as much as the iPhone did ten years ago, predicts Dominik Krabbe of EIT Digital, the EU’s centre of excellence for technological research.

At the Mindtrek new technology conference held in September in Tampere, Krabbe stated that international investments in AI have grown 300 per cent in the space of a year. Google, Facebook and other digital companies are spending 20–30 billion euros a year on artificial intelligence.

“When talking about AI, we can already talk about the hype. It’s the most fashionable new trend in technology at the moment. It will change the world just as much as the iPhone did when it came onto the market ten years ago,” said Krabbe.

Artificial intelligence will get cities moving

Artificial intelligence is also emphasised in the City of Helsinki’s new strategy proposal. According to Krabbe, AI offers cities a whole range of opportunities, for example in transportation.

“Self-driving cars are able to find the best flowing traffic routes using AI. AI can, for example, control traffic lights by communicating with smart vehicles. This allows traffic to flow smoothly. It saves people time and reduces climate emissions.”

In order for Helsinki, for example, to take full advantage of AI, the City should gather plenty of data for the AI to analyse.

“Using data and sensors, AI can monitor things such as free parking spaces, and guide cars to them. Currently, a significant proportion of the time spent driving cars in city centres is spent looking for parking spaces,” says Krabbe.

The City of Helsinki’s innovation unit, Forum Virium, is promoting the use of AI in Helsinki.

Will AI destroy humanity?

Artificial intelligence is not without its risks, either. Krabbe ponders over how social security should be reformed, if AI takes lots of jobs and humans are forced to retrain. Tesla founder Elon Musk and Microsoft founder Bill Gates have expressed concern about the use of AI for armament purposes.

“Are we building something that will destroy us? Global ethics regulations should be drawn up for AI,” says Krabbe.

In 2014, Google bought the London-based AI company Deepmind and founded an ethics board to consider the ethics surrounding AI. Deepmind is developing AI that can learn how to solve problems more difficult than humans are capable of solving.

Watch the video to see how Google Deepmind AI taught itself to walk and navigate across obstacles: