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New e-Estonia factsheet: National AI “Kratt” Strategy

Unless you’re familiar with old Estonian mythology, it’s likely you don’t know what the word “Kratt” means. Created out of hay and miscellaneous household objects, a kratt was a magical creature who would come alive once a pact was made between its master and the devil. This then allowed the kratt’s master to order it to do whatever menial labour or even nefarious tasks were needed or desired.

For many, it might be enough to leave the kratts in the past or to the folklorists. Not so in Estonia, where culture is not only preserved, but enhanced by digitalisation. And as such, kratts are still woven into today’s digital society. The similarity of the creature to artificial intelligence (AI) technology has led the Estonian government to repurpose the term for modern life. They can be found in the 2018 algorithmic-liability law, aka, Kratt law and are referenced in the current national AI “kratt” strategy.

Adopted by the government in July 2019, the “Kratt” strategy is a number of actions that the Estonian government plans to take. Relying on four pillars, the strategy seeks to boost the take-up of AI in both the private and public sectors. As well as a way to increase the relevant skills and research and development (R&D) base and develop the legal environment. With #KrattAI the government plans to invest at least 10M euros in 2019-2021 for the implementation of a proposed 50 AI use cases by 2020.

Currently there are already 25 use cases of AI being employed from this strategy.  Some examples of these include:

  • The Information System Authority of Estonia’s use of machine learning for detecting anomalies and incidents on traffic the X-Road –  the data exchange layer connecting all digital services.
  • Predictive analytics to decide where to send police for traffic regulation.
  • The Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund’s usage of matching job seekers with open positions and further developing the current job seeker profiling algorithm.

One other proposed usage is that of HANS, an AI support tool which is streamlining the work of the Estonian parliament. Through speech recognition, HANS can transcribe the plenary sessions of the Parliament, increasing the efficiency and accuracy in transcripts.

In addition to the benefits to the e-government, #KrattAI seeks to improve digital public services by creating the best possible user experience. AI can help users navigate the maze of service portals and websites that are already available. And help to speed up lengthy processes by tackling menial tasks in the court system.

To read more about the Kratt strategy, check out the prepared factsheet which offers an overview as well as a more detailed course of action.

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