Nordic.AI — A movement

As many who visit the Nordics tend to experience, our small region can seem quite uninviting and maybe even a bit rigid.

Although our region holds tremendous amounts of natural beauty, the weather can be hostile, the people can seem quite introverted, and the culture can be a bit unsociable (until you start drinking with us). This inward looking culture is one reason the Nordics are often overlooked on a global scale. So how will this small region of only 20 million people survive and thrive an ever-changing world, where competition never has been so fierce?

As we were sitting at our office on a cold winter morning in Copenhagen, we were facing that exact challenge. We were a small team that had just founded Corti, and we had a this bold idea. We envisioned that if we could have a machine understand real human dialogue, we would be able to bridge a whole new computing paradigm, and bring computing power to human problems that had never before been reached by technology.

Like any daring technical challenge, this would not only demand a lot of skill, luck and execution, it would also demand world-class research within machine learning — deep learning in particular — and we would need some of the best people in the world. But as we looked around for potential partners facing similar challenges in the Nordics, we found a machine learning community that was unstructured, scattered, and badly in need of an anchor.

How could this be? We have strong research communities with strong traditions, going back to Tycho Brahe and Niels Bohr . We have thriving startups and large hungry industrial giants. We have access to high quality IT infrastructure. We have a free education system that churns out data scientists every day.

But these individual components are not united into an ecosystem. Instead, they are scattered, leaving us a lot weaker than we should be. We came to the realization that we don’t have it all.

In order to attract funding, ideas, and world-class talent to the region, we need to come together and show the world what we’re building. We need the right people to help us make our vision into a movement.

That’s why we founded Nordic.ai. The idea was to create a hub that could gather the best researchers, thinkers, and builders from in and outside of the region to meet and discuss how we can apply the newest research and technology to solve some of the massive problems we are facing.

We teamed up with investor Søren Nielsen and AI expert Henrik Brink and started what would become Nordic.AI. Later on, we were lucky enough to hire Pia Elmegaard at Corti who also joined the steering committee, and Lisa Mallner to head operations. Since then we were lucky to be joined by community builders in AI from around the Nordics, including Anne Worsøe, Roelof Pieters, and many others who have been strong believers and contributors to our shared vision of an AI stronghold in the Nordics, founded on the principles that makes our region the greatest in the world.

Nordic.ai will grow and hopefully more people will get involved. We do not know where it will end but we know that we need to keep pushing the boundaries of what we are capable of if we are to succeed in making the Nordics standout within artificial intelligence. So we invite you all to get involved and help us put our great research and companies on the map and drive growth in sector that will change everything as we move forward.