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The National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence

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Introduction and summary

Artificial intelligence will not only enable us to perform tasks in increasingly better ways; it will also enable us to perform them in completely new ways. The Government wants Norway to take the lead in developing and using AI that respects individuals' rights and freedoms.

Progress by the Japanese artist Akinori Goto. A curly mesh of conducting material glowing in the shapes of humans. Used with permission from Ars Electronica and Design society.

«Progress», Akinori Goto (JP) – Photo: Ars Electronica/Design society

Artificial intelligence (AI) represents vast opportunities for us as individuals and for society at large. AI can lead to new, more effective business models and to effective, user-centric services in the public sector.

Norway is well positioned for succeeding with artificial intelligence. We have:

  • a high level of public trust in both the business and public sectors
  • a population and business sector that are digitally competent
  • An excellent infrastructure and high-quality registry data that span over many decades
  • well developed e-governance and public agencies that have come a long way with digitalisation and that have the capacity and expertise to experiment with new technologies
  • tripartite cooperation between employers, unions and government, which facilitates cooperation when restructuring is necessary

Technology will not only enable us to perform tasks in increasingly better ways; it will also enable us to perform them in completely new ways. But development and use of AI can also present challenges.

Norwegian society is characterised by trust and respect for fundamental values such as human rights and privacy. The Government wants Norway to lead the way in developing and using AI with respect for individual rights and freedoms. This can become a key advantage in today's global competition.

The Government believes that:

  • artificial intelligence that is developed and used in Norway should be built on ethical principles and respect human rights and democracy
  • research, development and use of artificial intelligence in Norway should promote responsible and trustworthy AI
  • development and use of AI in Norway should safeguard the integrity and privacy of the individual
  • cyber security should be built into the development, operation and administration of systems that use AI
  • supervisory authorities should oversee that AI systems in their areas of supervision are operated in accordance with the principles for responsible and trustworthy use of AI

A good basis for artificial intelligence

The Government will facilitate world-class AI infrastructure in Norway in the form of digitalisation-friendly regulations, good language resources, fast and robust communication networks, and sufficient computing power. It will facilitate data sharing within and across industries and sectors.

Data

Data is vital for the development and use of AI. Today vast amounts of information are generated from many different sources. AI and machine learning can use this data to give us important insights.

Access to high-quality datasets is essential for exploiting the potential of AI. The Government will facilitate data sharing in both the public and private sectors and between sectors.

Regulations

The Government will evaluate whether there are regulations that hamper appropriate and desired use of artificial intelligence in the public and private sectors. There will be requirements for transparency and accountability in new systems for public administration in which AI is used. The Government is positive towards establishing regulatory sandboxes in areas where this is called for. Such initiatives already exist in connection with autonomous transport. The Government will also establish an advisory body and a regulatory sandbox for AI in the area of data protection.

Language

Language technologies such as speech recognition and language comprehension represent an important component of AI. To enable Norwegian citizens to participate in increasingly advanced services in their own language, we need to have good language resources in both Norwegian language forms and in Sami. The Government will facilitate the collection of and access to language resources.

Communication networks and computing power

Development and use of AI requires a sound communication infrastructure and access to computing power. The work on communication infrastructure, and on 5G networks in particular, is a priority area for the Government. Access to sufficient computing power will be secured through the use of national and international resources for high-performance computing.

Developing and leveraging artificial intelligence

Norway will invest in AI in areas where we have distinct advantages, such as health, seas and oceans, public administration, energy and mobility.

The Government wants Norwegian organisations to be attractive cooperation partners for leading business and research communities in AI. Norway will continue to pursue its investment in basic and applied ICT research. Policy instruments that stimulate investment in strong research communities, such as the Research Council of Norway's centre schemes, will be central to AI investments.

Artificial intelligence will have a dominant place in Horizon Europe, the EU's next framework programme for research and innovation. Moreover, the EU has proposed the establishment of a comprehensive digitalisation programme, Digital Europe Programme (DEP), for the period 2021–2027. The programme will focus on initiatives in high-performance computing and artificial intelligence. The Government has signed a non-binding declaration of intent to participate in Horizon Europe and will consider Norway's participation in DEP from 2021.

Norway will have advanced skills, including in basic ICT research and AI research, in order to understand and benefit from changes in technological developments. This requires good study programmes that coincide with the needs of different sectors for advanced skills in artificial intelligence and in basic subjects such as statistics, mathematics and information technology.

AI and related topics such as ethics and data protection associated with applications of AI will also be important in areas such as law and other professional programmes. Institutions of higher education ought to evaluate how topics with relevance to artificial intelligence can be integrated into their programmes in areas that will be affected by artificial intelligence in the coming years.

Technological development will lead to changes in the labour market, and the pace of change is likely to accelerate. Opportunities for upskilling and reskilling – both in the workplace and in the form of study programmes – will therefore be increasingly important as applications of AI become more widespread in the labour market. The Government will present a white paper on a skills reform, and has already begun work on flexible further educational programmes both for digital skills and for employees who must adapt their skills as a result of digitalisation and the transition to a green society.

Enhancing innovation capacity using artificial intelligence

The Government wants Norway to exploit the innovative potential of artificial intelligence. Norway can take a leading position in applying artificial intelligence, particularly in areas where we are well positioned and have strong research and business communities, such as health, oil and gas, energy, the maritime and marine industries and the public sector.

The Government will consider how industrial policy instruments can best be designed to support the potential value creation and use of AI in the business sector.

Public agencies ought to actively explore the potential of artificial intelligence, and increased interaction between the public sector and the business sector should promote innovation and value creation. The public sector ought to actively explore opportunities in the market in connection with procurements, and innovative public procurements should be used where appropriate. To facilitate innovative solutions, the agencies ought to focus on their needs rather than on concrete products or services.

Responsible and trustworthy artificial intelligence

Development and use of AI can also present challenges, in particular for AI that builds on personal data. There is therefore a need for continuous discussion about what is responsible and desirable development and about what can be done to prevent adverse development.

The Government wants Norway to lead the way in developing and using AI with respect for individual rights and freedoms. In Norway, artificial intelligence will be based on ethical principles, respect for privacy and data protection and good cyber security.

Norway will continue to participate in European and international forums to promote responsible and trustworthy use of AI.

About the strategy

The National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence is intended for the civilian sector – both private and public. It does not cover the defence sector. The strategy focuses on specifying what is meant by artificial intelligence and on describing some areas where it will be important for Norway to exploit the opportunities offered by AI.

Artificial intelligence is an area that is constantly evolving. For this reason, no specific time period is applied to the strategy. There will be a need to adjust and evaluate the strategy at appropriate intervals, in line with technological and social developments.

This strategy must also be viewed in connection with other important work by the Government, such as the digitalisation strategy for the public sector 1 , a new public administration act 2 , a review of the system of business-oriented policy instruments 3 , the skills reform for lifelong learning ( Lære hele livet ), health data regulation 4 , and several other small- and large-scale initiatives that are discussed in the strategy.

Footnotes

1.

Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation (2019): One digital public sector. Digital strategy for the public sector 2019–2025

2.

NOU 2019: 5 NyforvaltningslovLov om saksbehandlingenioffentligforvaltning (forvaltningsloven) [Official Norwegian Report on a new Public Administration Act]

3.

Information on this work is available (in Norwegian) at: www.regjeringen.no/vmg

4.

Information on follow-up of the work of the Health Data Commission is available (in Norwegian) at: www.regjeringen.no/no/dokument/dep/hod/sak1/helsedatautvalget/id2595894/ and Helse- og omsorgsdepartementet (2019): Høringtilgjengeliggjøringavhelsedata (endringerihelseregisterlovenm.m.). [Ministry of Health and Care Services (2019): Public hearing on making health data available and amending the Health Register Act]