On Monday, September 21, the Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić opened the third AFA Innovation Week at the residence of the Finnish ambassador. On the occasion, she said that investments in innovation promoted higher economic growth and a better life for citizens, as well as contributed to one of the Government’s goals of creating a knowledge-based economy. The Prime Minister also said that one of the government’s goal was to transform the Serbian economy in which investment-based growth would develop into innovation-based growth, creativity and added value, adding that that was a way for Serbia to grow and progress at a much faster rate.
The opening ceremony’s host, the Finnish Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Kimmo Lähdevirta welcomed the guests and said that Finland strived for the development of artificial intelligence to be trust-based and human-centered, with a focus on effective application in the field of business and public services. “As a small country, Finland cannot compete with big players. For that reason, we need to focus on areas where our strengths lie and where we can be competitive, ”said Ambassador Lähdevirta.
Prime Minister Ana Brnabić also underlined that Serbia wanted to position itself as a regional leader and lay the foundation for continuous improvements, and that is why the Government is investing approximately 90 million euro in programmes developed under the auspices of the Artificial Intelligence Development Strategy. The Strategy was adopted in late December 2019, and, according to PM Brnabić, it made Serbia the first country in Southeast Europe and the 26th in the world to have such a document. “The goal is to accelerate the development of the innovation system, which is the key to more efficient and dynamic growth, and that is what Serbia and the region need,” the Prime Minister explained.
Ambassador Lähdevirta also said that Finland aimed for the development of artificial intelligence to be trust-based and human-centered, with a focus on effective application in the field of business and public services. Ambassador Lähdevirta went on to say that the Finnish government has been working on the Aurora programme, which goal is to create artificial intelligence that will participate in the selection of public services, such as job searching.
During the evening, Telenor’s CEO, Mike Michel, addressed the audience via a video message with a presentation entitled “Supporting future generations for inclusive, future development driven by innovation”, as did Teemu Roos, from the University of Helsinki, who spoke on the topic of “Elements of Artificial Intelligence”.
Innovation Week will be held this year from September 21 to 25, and the topic will be “Meeting with the Future” with a special focus on raising awareness of how fast-growing technologies affect the economy, society and the way we work and live.