Norway's Artificially Intelligent Future
Norway Looks to Artificial Intelligence to Power Its Economy
The Norwegian Stock Exchange has posted a significant negative return over the past decade while Norwegian GDP has been flat. To compete in the new technological age Norway has had to completely embrace AI technology and automation throughout their society and economy.
The age of artificial intelligence is upon the world and Norway does not want to be left behind.
Norway wants to diversify its Oil-dependent economy
AI is present in nearly every major industry, whether it is finance, healthcare, or transportation. Tesla, the automotive company famed for its all-electric vehicles with autonomous driving capabilities, is currently the most valuable automotive company in the world.
Although China and the United States often steal the spotlight when it comes to AI innovation, many other countries around the globe deserve recognition — both for the progress they have made in AI and for the great potential they have to transform their internal landscapes by adopting it.
First among these countries is Norway.
Located in Scandinavia along with Denmark and Sweden, Norway shows a great deal of promise in the field of AI, both in terms of innovating and in terms of implementing those innovations into its society, because Norway has already proven its ability to effectively adopt the most advanced technology available in a countrywide manner. The best example of this ability is Norway’s reaction to the introduction of electric vehicles to the automobile market.
Fully electric cars became fashionable only just a few years ago, and since then, Norway’s acceptance and adoption of them has been extremely impressive. Today, Norway boasts the greatest amount of electric vehicles per capita of any country on the globe.
This transformation from gasoline-run vehicles to plug-in vehicles represents a remarkable attitudinal shift among Norway’s citizenry that is striking due to both its speed and magnitude. According to Wikipedia, the market share of plug-in vehicles in Norway was 55.9 percent in 2019, while in the United States, the market share of plug-in vehicles in the same year was a miniscule 1.9%.
Importantly, Norway did not by any means have access to electric vehicles before the United States; it simply possessed certain advantages and capitalized on them. So what explains Norway’s uncommonly fast and earnest adoption of electric vehicles, and how might this inform us of Norway’s promise of soon becoming the next world superpower in AI?
In my view, the combination of two factors accounts for why Norway quickly adopted electric vehicles and why it shows disproportionate promise in the field of AI.
The first and probably most important factor is that Norway has a knack for developing and implementing AI technologies. This is evidenced by the groundbreaking technologies that have contributed to its success in quickly adopting electric vehicles. It is these technologies, these companies, and the individuals behind these projects that are responsible for the great promise Norway shows in the field of AI.
An excellent example of Norway’s success in AI is Disruptive Engineering, a company that employs sensors rather than cameras to gather and analyze traffic data.
By using magnetic sensors equipped with machine learning that are placed under road pavement, Disruptive Engineering’s VS1 Sensor System can detect and collect a very impressive amount of data regarding the vehicles that pass over, including the make of a vehicle, its engine type, and even its size and the speed at which it is traveling. The sensors are even capable of detecting bicycles, electric bicycles, and electric scooters.
Unlike cameras that must be placed above road pavement in order to identify passing vehicles, the VS1 Sensor System is placed underneath pavement and is thereby not vulnerable to harsh weather conditions or intrusive to those who might be concerned about issues of privacy.
Innovations such as this one are important to the world not only because they directly benefit the citizens and governments of the communities in which they exist, but also because they clearly illustrate that it is only the countries that are willing to experiment and innovate in AI that will reap the outsized economic and environmental benefits; all the others will be left behind.
No country demonstrates this more expressly than Norway.
The second factor that positions Norway exceptionally well in the AI race is its highly educated and wealthy citizenry. Norway boasts a GDP per-capita figure in excess of $80,000, which is nearly the highest of any country in the world, and the result of this is a population that is very accustomed to technology.
Put differently, Norway’s citizenry is uncommonly comfortable with technology, which explains its willingness to adopt technological innovations that in some countries would be met with skepticism and opposition.
This comfort with technology also explains why Norway’s economy is among the most digitized of any in the world and why Internet usage in Norway is exceptionally high relative to other nations. Accordingly, it should come as no surprise that technological innovations involving machine learning and autonomous driving are readily adopted by the population.
To conclude, Norway’s competitive advantages are formidable, especially when the country’s technological capabilities and its citizenry’s enthusiasm for innovation are considered in conjunction with one another. While it may not be as economically powerful as other major countries like the US, China, or Canada, Norway may be poised to overtake these countries in the AI race.
Written by Jared Nussbaum
Edited by Alexander Fleiss, Calvin Ma, Gihyen Eom, Rohan Mehta & Michael Ding