An Ode to AI: The 20th AI Monday in Helsinki

Valeriy Neznakhin

Junior Advisor and Marketing Manager

Tag : data-enabled-business; strategy

Did you know that in 2017 the Canadian government set aside $125 million over the next five years for the implementation of a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy?  Would you be interested in knowing how to engage with the most potential visitors of a website and improve sales conversion rates by 19 percent? Or would you like to know more about the role of AI in improving decision-making when it comes to creating new software?

The 20th AI Monday shed light on these topics. The event took place in the central library of Helsinki, Oodi, with an audience of over 100 AI enthusiasts and with the following speakers on stage:

  1. Frédérique Bouchard, Government Relations Advisor from Element AI, Canada
  2. Otto Nyberg, Director of Research at Giosg
  3. Henri Terho, Solutions Architect at Qentinel


The evening was opened up by our first overseas speaker Fréderique Bouchard from Element AI, Canada, talking about the country’s AI ecosystem. Element AI, with its main office in Montréal and four other offices spread across the world, is an organisation helping people to work smarter by easing the workload of cybersecurity analysts in the National Bank of Canada, accelerating validations for insurance underwriters in Gore Mutual, and optimising GPU operations for Operations Support Systems in NVIDIA, to mention just a few examples.

Frédérique started off by telling how in 2017, the Canadian government set aside $125 million over the next five years for the implementation of a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy. Moreover, Canada has opened its doors to AI experts willing to relocate to Canada by guaranteeing a visa in two weeks for a highly-skilled AI expert or an expert- to-be and their spouse. The Global Skills Strategy behind this migration policy has proven to work in attracting talent: in 2017 Toronto was the world’s fastest-growing tech-jobs market.

Together, the government and private sector investments have created an exceptional talent pool of over 1500 working AI experts. This makes Canada the country that hosts the third largest number of AI experts in the world.

Frédérique developed upon this by mentioning that Canada’s AI ecosystem has experienced strong growth in the past two years, and is expected to continue to grow at a significant pace. From 2017 to 2018 there has been an increase of 28% in the number of AI start-ups and a 50% increase in the number of acquisitions.

So, how much are different businesses involved and what type of businesses use or are trying to use AI in Canada? To answer this, Frédérique compared Finland and Canada. In Finland, around 8% of Small and Medium Enterprises are either using or piloting AI in their business, and 24% are considering it[1], whereas in Canada the proportion is only between 1-2 percent. In general, the adoption rate of AI has been much lower in Canada than in Finland, and the focus is heavily on Canada’s biggest sectors, with an attitude of cautious optimism. The top industries for Canadian AI, by the number of firms, are marketing, fintech, health & pharmaceuticals, human resources and social media[2].

Frédérique concluded that the current challenges and priorities for Canada’s AI strategy are scaling up start-ups and strengthening the adoption of AI beyond the dominant sectors.

Giosg: Only Meaningful Interactions

Otto Nyberg, Director of Research from Giosg, explained how to proceed from a mission statement to an AI algorithm to engage with the most potential visitors of a website and to increase sales conversion rates by 19%, based on research.

Giosg has done research with the University of Helsinki and has already 1200 customers of which the majority are Finnish companies with a sizable online presence, and with the noticeable interest shown by real estate companies in England as well.

After giving an overview of the company’s background, Otto Nyberg discussed uplift modelling and how Giosg’s Sales Converter targets the right people with AI, leading to a faster sales conversion and saved costs. The interest in this lies in predicting the probability of change in behaviour as a result of treatment. Otto Nyberg emphasized that while normal A/B tests calculate conversion rates for different user groups, at Giosg they want to identify groups that only convert as a result of specific treatment, which is where “Only Meaningful Interactions” comes from.

In the end, Otto Nyberg pointed out that Giosg is looking for customers to test the algorithm in a real business environment!

Qentinel: Quality Intelligence® in forecasting software project metrics

In software development, everything is becoming faster, more complex, more detailed, and automated. However, what remains not automated is decision-making, which creates increased pressure on making sense of the data and making the right decisions fast enough. So what can be done to solve this?

The third speaker, Henri Terho, Solutions Architect at Qentinel, gave a presentation on how Qentinel uses AI to improve decision-making when it comes to creating new software.

Henri explained how Quentinel’s Quality Intelligence® is created for making the decision-making for the following questions a lot easier for software development:

  1. How can I improve productivity?
  2. How can I improve customer satisfaction?
  3. What should I fix to prevent service outages?
  4. Is the release candidate OK for production?

Short response time is crucial for value creation. For that reason, what Qentinel’s Quality Intelligence ® does is to change normalised data to a visual metrics tree showing the causalities between anything the company wants to model and which factors influence which causal nodes the most. With this insight, combined with the confidence levels for software quality at any level, Qentinel’s Quality Intelligence® makes it possible to set up notifications forecasting unusual changes and anomalies. This allows more time for important decision-making and will lead to increased business value.

AI is making sense

The last presentation of the day was given by Taival Senior Advisor and AI Monday host Petri Malmelin.  He kept the audience alert with a dynamic, rapid-fire PowerPoint presentation of 60 slides on the importance of process mining and AI in making sense of complex business landscapes and locating process bottlenecks in big organisations.

Closing the event, Taival CEO Michael Hanf wanted to hear the speakers’ take on how the discussion around AI has changed in the past few years. The consensus was that the audience has changed from the mathematicians and coders to include more policymakers and businesspeople. From the government relations perspective, the demographics haven’t really seen such a big shift, but the questions people ask have changed—showing that people are interested and increasingly aware of both the possibilities and the challenges AI and the newest technologies present, not only to businesses but to everyone.

Join us for the next AI Monday!

Since this was the last AI Monday before the summer break, after the event everyone headed for ice cream in addition to casual networking.  AI Monday is going to return from the summer break on the 2nd of September, so Taival hopes to see you and your AI enthusiastic friends there!

Registration available here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/aimonday-helsinki-2nd-of-september-2019-tickets-69668673879

[1] https://www.yrittajat.fi/sites/default/files/pk_barometri_kevat2018.pdf

[2] http://www.greentechasia.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Canada-AI-Ecosystem-2018-Profile-Summary-Report-Greentech-Asia.pdf