With world-class research institutes in artificial intelligence (AI), Sweden keeps up with all the latest ideas – and sometimes even steps out ahead. But blue-sky research doesn’t always lead to practical solutions that can be used by industry. That’s where AI Sweden plays a key role.
An important first step in the development of AI Sweden came when Mikael Ljungblom was working as a political advisor to the Swedish minister for digital development. While travelling to see what other countries were doing, Ljungblom and his colleagues saw that countries such as Japan and China were investing in AI. Given the importance of the technology for competitiveness and societal development, they sensed a need to develop an AI centre in Sweden. That was in 2017.
“I started to speak to different actors in the ecosystem and I met Mats Nordlund, who is now our colleague,” Ljungblom tells Computer Weekly. “He was working in the automotive industry in Gothenburg – and he had the same mission as I did. We locked arms and tried to go about this together. We had great support from Vinnova, which is Sweden’s innovation agency.”
Vinnova provided the base funding for what was to become AI Sweden. Johanna Bergman joined the effort in 2018. She had previously been working on pre-hospital e-health at the Lindholme Science Park in Gothenburg.