He runs a company that is a byword for technological innovation — but Nokia’s chairman had no qualms about going back to school to learn more about artificial intelligence (AI).
Risto Siilasmaa, 51, said he signed up this summer for online courses on AI programming
run by Stanford University. “I realised that I don’t have deep enough knowledge on this phenomenon... Now I’m back studying programming after 30 years,” he told Reuters on Friday by email. “I do not want to become an AI programmer. I want to deeply understand the abilities and limitations of AI.”
Since starting the courses, Siilasmaa said he had briefed the Finnish telecom infrastructure firm’s board and managers on the subject. “I want to raise awareness ...on this, because AI will be a key driver of the ongoing industrial revolution.”
Once the preserve of researchers, AI has grabbed the attention of businesses from health care to financial services looking to use algorithms to parse data in search of patterns to solve problems.
Nokia aims to offer more sophisticated software to analyse the mountains of data that telecom network operators collect, in order to create more powerful and more personalised services.
Potential AI applications Nokia has begun to roll out include troubleshooting network bottlenecks and traffic analysis for use in driverless cars and “smart cities” filled with billions of network-linked devices.