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Niche opportunities: has artificial intelligence gained business confidence in Lithuania?

With the growing influence of technology and the potential of artificial intelligence (AI), companies are exploring how to integrate algorithms into their processes and solutions. "There is no doubt that DI technology today can meet three important business needs: business process automation, data analysis, and collaboration with customers and employees," says director of MITA Gintas Kimtys. What is the future of artificial intelligence and how do companies in Lithuania view this niche?

Dovydas Čeilutka, President of the Lithuanian DI Association, notes that the situation of artificial intelligence in our country shows the growing business confidence in this technology. According to him, a better starting point for the introduction of artificial intelligence tools is usually found by companies focused on the development of IT products, but this in no way means that IoT solutions are relevant only to them.

"Looking at the overall situation, currently only about 5 percent of domestic companies  are applying IoT solutions. Some businesses use pre-existing and very simple solutions, which they usually get from cloud computing service providers. Progress in this area is hampered by a lack of competencies. In order to use artificial intelligence effectively, specific skills and knowledge are needed, but there are not many specialists in artificial intelligence, and some companies simply cannot afford to keep them” notes D. Čeilutka.

“Some companies in Lithuania already have the necessary competencies and are currently trying to find ways to use the latest technologies and offer products and services developed on the basis of artificial intelligence. Lithuanian businesses wishing to take advantage of artificial intelligence can currently participate in the Norway Grants innovation promotion program and receive up to 1 million - highlights Ina Sinkevičiūtė, Head of the Norway Grants Program. The financial injection will allow businesses to develop IoT and other information and communication technology innovations.

What DI opportunities does the business see?
1. Algorithms
The President of the Lithuanian IoT Association notes that innovative companies in the country currently mostly use the machine learning method. Its principle of operation is as follows: the algorithm gathers information, "learns" and can then successfully gain valuable and effective insights.

This principle filters out junk e-mail in the e-mail box. Using the machine learning method, they are filtered in the e-mail box with the help of DI and travel directly to the spam section. This protects users from inappropriate content.

"Such a model was integrated by Lithuanian start-up Vinted. A practical example is when a consumer uploads a garment for sale to a second-hand fashion shopping platform, the algorithms recognize what the garment is from his photo and offer the category to the consumer. By comparing clothes of the same brand, similar look, quality and style, the algorithm can also offer the consumer a selling price range that provides the highest probability of selling. After buying certain goods several times, the algorithms conclude that such goods may be interesting for the consumer in the future, therefore, they put them in visible positions” explains D. Čeilutka.

2. Autopilot
"Artificial intelligence opens new opportunities for business and at the same time allows the market to offer a competitive product. One such example is Tesla's autopilot system. In the field of software, Tesla is very strongly ahead and often surprises people with its success, despite low sales. This is an example of how the application of artificial intelligence solutions can give your product exclusivity and increase its value 10 or more times” says the specialist.

3. Automation
D. Čeilutka also notes that artificial intelligence helps businesses to automate processes and perform much more complex, high-volume operations. “For some tasks, companies use a lot of resources, hire hundreds of people, but artificial intelligence technology helps optimize processes and free people from routine work. Artificial intelligence can classify messages that are important, that are less important, select queries that are specialized and should be sent to professionals in a particular field. This saves a lot of time and human resources, ”says D. Čeiliutka. For example, the telecommunications company Telia has been using a service assistant-robot (chatbot) for some time, which communicates with customers and answers various requests. If the robot fails to resolve the situation, the human intervenes and takes over the task from his "colleague."

What to expect in the future?
The President of the Lithuanian DI Association says that the last few years have seen a major breakthrough in artificial intelligence in language technologies, and that this niche has great potential for the future.

"Today, the autoregressive language model GPT-3 (Generative Pre-Training Transformer 3) is being used more and more, which uses deep learning to create human-like text. This system uses a trillion word catalog to guess what the next logical part of the sentence might be. Messages created by artificial intelligence can already be found on the Twitter platform. This trend shows how much potential language models really have and how powerful they can be” says D. Čeiliutka.

Artificial intelligence, which has made impressive progress in recent years, also has shortcomings. Today, there are concerns about systematic, recurring computer system failures that sometimes produce inaccurate results and discriminate against certain groups in society. According to D. Čeliutkas, this problem is becoming more and more acute, therefore it is likely that the use of artificial intelligence will be subject to stricter regulations.

"In the future, we will see changes and data and artificial intelligence solutions in the area of ​​privacy. In order to ensure data protection and at the same time enable further use of artificial intelligence solutions, they will be transferred from cloud servers to smart devices, ”says the President of the Lithuanian DI Association.

Lithuanian companies wishing to develop new ICT-based solutions and find a project partner in Norway can apply for funding to Business Development, Innovation and SMEs, which operates under the Norway Grants program until 2021 February 12th. Information on the ICT call for proposals can be found on the MITA and Norway Grants websites.
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