The ambitions for the centre were big and bold back in 2017, as Telenor sought partners, funding, data, and real-life problems to be solved with AI. The founders believed that by joining forces, Norway could get a leg up in the AI race, igniting a more digital and more competitive Norwegian economy and, perhaps, even society-at-large. Like we said, big and bold.
So, has the Norwegian Open AI Lab (NAIL) lived up to the expectations so far? It certainly did, and here are 10 reasons why.
If we build it, they will come. By year-end 2020, NAIL boasted 12 partners and a core team of 12 professors, more than 20 associate researchers and more than 75 PhD student in AI. Partners DNB, Equinor, Kongsberg Group and DNV joined in 2018, bringing more data, more real-life problems, and more funding from across Norwegian industries.
It started a trend. Once the AI Lab was announced, it sparked a chain reaction across Norway and more research and innovation communities popped up, such as CAIR (Center of Artificial Intelligence at University of Agder) and NORA (Norwegian Artificial Intelligence Research Consortium). Two AI student organizations were also founded with NAIL support: BRAIN NTNU and Cogito.
Our friends benefit too. The Centre for AI –Research-based Innovation SFI NorwAI kicked-off in 2020, with 260 million NOK funding from the Norwegian Research Council and industry partners (including Telenor) in its coffers. Researchers from NAIL are also taking part in this project, which is considered the largest of its kind in Norway.
NAIL puts Norway on the AI map in Europe. Since 2019, the two NAIL founders participate in the largest EU-funded AI consortium called AI4EU, with a mandate to build AI momentum across Europe.
It’s AI-elementary, my dear. In 2020, the AI Lab launched the first and only introductory AI course for the whole Norway and challenged the private and public sector on the speed and volumes of learning. Stay tuned, and you will learn who knows the basics of AI best in Norway. The course is called Elements of AI, and it’s designed to upskill the general population in subjects such as Big Data and AI technologies.