AI Everywhere and growing fast

AI everywhere and growing fast 
(Telenor Research & Innovation in Asia)

Since Chat-GPT was launched to the public, Artificial intelligence (AI) has been top-of-mind for individuals, businesses, media, and governments across the world. While it is still early days, we are starting to see the huge potential of AI in transforming societies and industries.  

“The speed of technology development is increasing rapidly and the time window from research to innovation to implementation is getting shorter. That is why Telenor has pivoted its long-lived Research and Innovation unit towards near -term, high impact innovations within AI, Cloud and NextGen Networks areas, as part of the Telenor Group technology team. Enabling research, innovation and commercialization to go hand in hand ensures that Telenor is a forward-leaning telco in the forefront of digital transformation,” said Ieva Martinkenaite, Head of Telenor Group Research and Innovation.

Ieva and Patrick Waldmar, Vice President and Head of Telenor Research were in Singapore and Malaysia recently to participate in discussions and share knowledge and experiences of working with AI and next-generation mobile network technologies and solutions.

Safeguarding ethics

A key topic of interest was how to design and implement policy frameworks for ethical AI that balance companies’ need for speed to innovate while safeguarding responsible use of AI technologies. For example, Martinkenaite shared that the European Union is taking a risk-based approach where lower risk AI applications can be fast tracked, while high-risks applications undergo more scrutiny. She was an Expert Member in the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on AI from 2018 to 2020.

At the Asia Tech X Summit in Singapore, Martinkenaite joined the state secretary of the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport, and experts from Microsoft, Sony and the International Research Centre for AI Ethics and Governance in a panel discussion on mitigating deepfakes.  

“New technologies come with challenges and opportunities. One example is the fight against deepfakes. This is an area that needs regulatory frameworks and international collaboration among governments, private sector and societal organizations. Collaboration needs to start at the top with leaders of nations that oversee critical infrastructure as a fundament to societal wellbeing and are committed to safeguard it from deepfakes,” said Martinkenaite.

Martinekaite’s key message was that it is time to take action and be pragmatic and practical. Governments and international bodies should start rolling out playbooks, frameworks, and benchmarking tools to help businesses and users ensure they are deploying and consuming AI safely.

Telenor Asia recently joined Singapore AI Verify foundation to support development of open source AI testing tools and promote best practices and standards for AI.  

Continuous dialogue with government and business community

With AI everywhere and growing, the rise of software enabled platforms and the evolution of future networks, there is a need for continuous discussions, knowledge sharing and competence building both in governments, regulators and in the business community.

“To unlock AI’s full potential Telenor has developed an AI first strategy that sets responsible AI principles and forceful execution of AI tech in core business areas, doubling down on data governance, working in partnerships and most importantly, upskilling employees on new technologies,” Martinkenaite continues.  

An important element is to work with government stakeholders and local businesses to share knowledge about industry trends and potential impact of new technology to equip them with tools and knowledge that gives them an advantage when preparing for the future.

In Malaysia, Telenor organised a seminar with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to share insights and experiences for over 200 participants. In Singapore, meetings were held with IMDA, MDDI and EDB. In addition, Telenor visited A*STAR 5G/6G research lab and IMDA’s Future Communication Connectivity lab at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

Telenor Asia also hosted a “Technology Breakfast Briefing” together with the Norwegian Business Association Singapore (NBAS) where NBAS members could learn more about the latest technology trends, the path ahead for AI and 5G, its business implications and what companies need to know about regulatory frameworks in Europe and Asia.