Estonian PM at Tallinn Digital Summit: Regulation of AI usage needing work

  • 2019-09-18
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas at the Tallinn Digital Summit on Tuesday discussed artificial intelligence (AI) with heads of delegations from 14 EU members states as well as Canada, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand and Australia, and noted that more work has to be put into the rules of using AI technologies. 

There is a lot of talk of using AI, according to the prime minister; however, much of it is theoretical and abstract. 

"When it comes to AI governance, we must adopt a very practical approach. We need to talk about good practices and ideas worth trying out, and move forward together," Ratas was quoted by government spokespeople as saying.

The prime minister deemed important that states sharing similar principles and approaches to AI should cooperate in its governance and establish common regulation for its usage. We all regard it necessary that there should be a framework we could adopt; however, we are still testing what this means in practice, he said.

"This is our opportunity to create it together," the prime minister noted.

Ratas added that he hopes that in addition to talking about AI, states are also willing to develop and try out their ideas in practice.

"AI governance must be swift. We shouldn't just stick to endlessly discussing what the best solutions might be, but also see what actually works best," he said. Ratas expressed hope that the digital summit will produce great ideas that can soon be applied in practice. 

The prime minister pointed out that Estonia's public sector is already using around twenty AI solutions to improve its digital services. The processes of designing and using these solutions were also shared with participants in the summit. 

"In addition to its experience with AI, Estonia can also assist and advise other states in creating a basic infrastructure -- we have 18 years of experience in using the X-Road [data exchange layer]," he said.