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CTOs: Artificial Intelligence seen as the most interesting world changing technology

6 Nov 2018

AI, and particularly neural networks and deep learning, are the most interesting technologies of the future, according to Finnish Chief Technology Officers. They also put circular economy and new battery technologies in the top three. These and other results of the annual CTO Survey were published on November 5, 2018 in CTO Forum, the top event for Finnish technology influencers arranged by Spinverse with Business Finland and Technology Industries of Finland.

This year the CTO Survey mapped which Radical technologies are the most interesting and in which areas Finland could have a competitive edge. The CTO’s were also asked which areas state and other research institutes should allocate their research and development investments.

The survey was conducted by innovation consulting company Spinverse together with Business Finland and Technology Industries of Finland. The theme was based on an extensive report, A hundred new opportunities for Finland 2018 – 2037, which introduced 100 radical technologies that may trigger systemic social changes. It was commissioned by the Committee of the Future of the Parliament of Finland and written by Risto Linturi and Osmo Kuusi.

More attractive investment environment needed

Spinverse has conducted annual CTO surveys since 2010. Some 70 Finnish Chief Technology Officers responded to the 2018 survey. Twenty of the largest R&D investors of the country were included among the respondents.

”The feedback predicts growth for next year for both product development investment and recruitment,” summarizes Spinverse Chairman of the board Pekka Koponen. “The responders’ companies represent nearly 90 percent of all research and development investments made in Finland.”

According to Statistics Finland, R&D investments in Finland in 2017 showed weak growth after six years of decline. The additional €100m annual funding for innovations by the Finnish government is a small step in the right direction.

However, the CEO of Technology Industries of Finland, Jaakko Hirvola, emphasizes that in proportion to GNP, incentives for R&D investment are still considerably smaller in Finland compared to other Nordic countries.

”In spite of these small glimmers of hope, all economic forecasts predict challenging times ahead. The only sensible way to tackle this is to make the investing environment more attractive and to raise public R&D&I investments to an entirely new level. Product development is now more important than ever as all companies are transforming into digital companies.”

“The next Finnish government must carry their responsibility for the competitiveness of our operating environment,” Hirvola emphasizes.

New technologies require new competence

Artificial intelligence in its various applications stood out as the most interesting area of new technology by all respondents, regardless of their business area. AI was followed by circular economy and new fractioning technologies, as well as the new battery and capacitor technologies, as areas of interest. The respondents also proposed other new technologies, such as intelligent production systems, automated and autonomous machines and lignin-based chemistry and materials.

”Most companies have understood that AI will have an impact on them in the near future, and they are preparing for that inevitability by focusing their competences in this area. Out of all the programs Business Finland provides, funding demand has been the highest for the AI Business program. That’s followed by bio economy and circular economy programs, which were also noted in the CTO Survey,” says Executive Director Teija Lahti-Nuuttila from Business Finland.

Discussion platform for technology influencers

The one hundred radical technologies, classified into ten technology areas, were delivered to the respondents in a gamified, easily approachable way using a digital innovating platform developed by Spinverse and Finnish start-up Viima.

“Going forward, the platform is meant to be a permanent and expanding forum for ideation and discussion for technology experts from different areas of business,” says Pekka Koponen.

For further information please contact:

Business Finland, director Teija Lahti-Nuuttila
teija.lahti-nuuttila@businessfinland.fi, tel. +358 50 5577873

Teknologiateollisuus CEO Jaakko Hirvola
jaakko.hirvola@teknologiateollisuus.fi,  tel. +358 400 633 751

Spinverse Chairman Pekka Koponen

Pekka.koponen@spinverse.com, tel. +358 40 545 0008

Read more:
Article in Tekniikka&Talous (in Finnish)
Press release in Business Finland website (in Finnish)

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Markku Heino

Principal Consultant, D.Sc. (Tech.) +358 40 7191221

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