Innovation growth is a prerequisite to economic advance: interview with Olga Samoilova Innovation growth is a prerequisite to economic advance: interview with Olga Samoilova

How does the state encourage the development of AI technologies? Why is the integration of artificial intelligence so important for the economic growth? We discussed these issues with Olga Samoilova, a representative of the Reforms Delivery Office at the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

Olga Samoilova is a project manager for innovations development at the Reforms Delivery Office at the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. She was one of the speakers at AI Conference Kyiv held on November 14 in the capital of Ukraine. Within her presentation opening the conference, Olga Samoilova talked about the regulation of AI in the global practice and key development stages of artificial intelligence.

Interviewer: AI Conference Kyiv (AI)

Respondent: Olga Samoilova (OS)

AICK: How does the Reforms Delivery Office at the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine affect the development of AI technologies in the country? What is your role in this aspect?

OS: We are not institutional like a state enterprise or government body. We are an advisory body at the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Our primary role is to help the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and various ministers to determine their key functions: policy formation, establishment of the main growth vector and diverse plans.

With the AI industry being relatively new, there is no certain vector of its development in Ukraine. However, we have a separate unit for the evolution of innovations as well as small and medium businesses supported by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine. As part of the innovation unit, we are also prescribing a range of normative legal documents along with the State Agency for e-Governance of Ukraine.

Currently, we start working on the concept of artificial intelligence development up to 2030. We have just begun to develop a guidance paper and hope that it will become a strategy and foundation for further regulatory acts if necessary.

AICK: How long have you been working in this area, and what implementation stage have you already reached?

OS: When it comes to the innovation unit, it has been relevant for the country for a long time. Over the past two years, we have been focusing on the growth of innovations, but the artificial intelligence issue has become popular quite recently, and we have got into it since autumn 2018.

Initially, we should fully analyze available materials: best practice and solutions of other countries. Afterwards, we can proceed with drafting of our internal regulatory legislation.

AICK: How can you assess the AI development level in Ukraine?

OS: I consider human capital assets in general to be a significant level in the IT industry. This country has about 100 000 IT specialists in various sectors and areas. Thus, we are strong in outsourcing and concept formation and have promising startups.

The huge amount of successful companies have entered the market within the past two years, which raise from 5 to 20 millions of dollars. They include Neuromation, a well-known company developing AI-based projects.

AICK: Is the government sector integrating AI technologies now? Which ones?

OS: According to my sources, there is no mass integration in the government sector. There are pilot projects or initiatives. But I expect that all possible public services will be shifted to this technology in the near future with the assistance of both public and private developers.

AICK: Are the authorities interested in the evolution and integration of AI technologies? Why?

OS: It is a new, young, and developing industry that definitely requires support. The authorities realize the necessity of development. It is the growth of innovations that will be a prerequisite to the economic advance in future. It will be impossible to compete on the global stage without innovations and their adoption in our reality and our life.

AICK: British analysts have calculated that automated systems and artificial intelligence would be able to replace 80% of their government officials by 2030. Is it real to shift, at least partially, our government machine to such an operation scheme?

OS: None of automated systems can accept decisions at the global level; it refers to decisions affecting the welfare of the whole nation. Thus, I would consider this issue in terms of replacing routine work for automated one. Now, we can still see elementary things in this sector: for example, e-workflow designed to replace a large amount of red tape.

We will face even more changes due to the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning. One will be able to delegate certain tasks, and people won’t have to waste their time for routine and will be able to be more valuable in other things. For instance, in decision making.

All data processing services can be transformed to the digital plane. As of today, there is a range of initiatives in the government sector for further simplification of red tape operations and digitalization.

AICK: What should the state do in order not to slow down technological innovations but to develop them? What are we lack of now: money, specialists, or laws?

OS: I believe that the focus on education is the main factor of evolution. Artificial intelligence and other technologies are based on human capital assets. Both public and private universities, as well as business representatives, should understand this priority.

The next factor is the development of business conditions, because the Ukrainian legislation that should create favorable environment for businesses is far from perfect. A positive aspect is that now the Cabinet of Ministers and other institutions have a range of initiatives aimed at the deregulation of small and medium businesses in order to make them grow.

Actually, business will be that very driver encouraging the development and implementation of innovations.

AICK: What is the role of specialized conferences, forums, and exhibitions in the development of technologies?

OS: They are extremely important because of bringing together experts with special knowledge. It is especially significant for a new area: regular meetings will allow people to get to know each other, take part in networking, exchange contacts and knowledge, as well as establish a community. This is crucial for the enhancement of any sector.

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