Business and industry must speed up AI

Business and industry must speed up AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) has in recent years been top-of-mind for individuals, businesses, media, and governments across the world. The AI revolution has already begun, and we are starting to see the huge potential of AI in transforming societies and industries. 

Telenor has set an ambitious goal for becoming an AI driven organization, integrating AI in all aspects of our business. However, many businesses and industries need to speed up AI.

In this op-ed published in Norwegian media, Telenor Group President and CEO Sigve Brekke outlines the huge opportunity for businesses who embrace AI to increase value creation, but also warns that the future is waiting for no one, and those who do not act now may be outdated tomorrow.

View the original op-ed in Norwegian:
Norsk næringsliv må få opp KI-farta |

Photo: Håvard Fossen

Artificial intelligence (AI) is on everyone’s lips, both among the general public and in business. Are we at the dawn of a technological revolution, or are we already in the midst of it? I believe the latter is the case, and large parts of the Norwegian business sector are alarmingly late.

A survey from Norstat reveals that 1 in 2 Norwegian companies do not have an AI plan, and that seven out of ten managers do not use AI in the workplace. By comparison, half of US companies have already adopted AI. This is a paradox for Norway, a country that has ambitions to be a leading innovation nation.

To create is to be human, but now we have company. While you were reading this sentence, AI paints portraits, writes books, and composes new music. AI has already had a widespread impact. It’s used to set prices for medicines and houses, assemble cars, and determine which ads we see on social media. AI has enormous potential to not only entertain, but to improve and fundamentally change businesses.

The Norwegian Confederation of Enterprises (NHO) estimates also confirm this: By using AI, Norwegian business and industry can increase value creation by a formidable NOK 5600 billion by 2040. This is an opportunity we cannot afford to pass up.

At Telenor, we have invested in research and development of AI for several years. Since 2012, our own research department has worked with AI, and we are co-founder of both the Digital Transformation Hub in Bergen and the AI Lab in Trondheim. As the carrier of Norway’s digital infrastructure, we are aware that we cannot afford to fall behind. Today, we use AI in a number of areas. Among other things, to optimize the use of our towers, manage power consumption, in customer service and much more. But that’s not enough. As fast as AI evolves, you risk being outdated tomorrow if you don’t act now.

Therefore, Telenor has set an ambitious goal of becoming an AI-driven organisation. To speed things up, we recently partnered strategically with Nvidia, the engine behind the biggest and most important AI systems. Together we will work in a number of areas, and the goal is to accelerate AI in the Nordic region. This means, among other things, that AI will be integrated into all aspects of our business, from the workplace and the value chain to the customer experiences. Anything that can be improved with AI should be improved with AI. It’s ambitious, and we clearly have a lot to learn and a long road ahead of us.

While this new technology has incredible potential, it’s also important to be aware of the risks. Increased digitalisation means greater vulnerability, which is why investments in cyber security are just as important as investments in AI. In the first three months of 2024, Telenor stopped 500 million attempts at digital crime.

Nearly 9 in 10 business leaders say they are worried that their business could be paralyzed by a cyber attack. 1 in 5 business leaders say that they have experienced cyber attacks in the past year, which corresponds to as many as 130,000 Norwegian companies. The fear of cyber attacks is very real. That is why we at Telenor work hard to strengthen our own and our customers’ digital defense lines. In Norway alone, Telenor invests hundreds of millions of kroner every year in digital and physical security.

But even though this new technology presents challenges, we cannot be left behind on the platform when the train leaves. The AI revolution has already begun, and the future is waiting for no one. The question is whether Norwegian business and industry are ready to embrace it.

Read more: Telenor Group Announces Collaboration with NVIDIA to Support its AI-First Ambition