Estonia: a curious and cautious approach to artificial intelligence and national security

Nicholas Robinson, Alexander Hardy, Amy Ertan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter we provide an overview of Estonia’s current AI landscape, detailing a number of public sector use-cases and developments across both industry and the military to examine AI in a national security context. We also offer caution to the assumption that Estonia’s prominence in other digital domains (such as cybersecurity and e-governance), should necessarily equate to a leading international role in global AI development. Instead, we suggest that Estonia’s approach to AI is currently one of cautious curiosity, whereby small, incremental public-private sector transformations through the use of AI technologies offer a “huge opportunity and a powerful tool for Estonia”, which should be implemented “responsibly and safely” so as not to harm society (Government Office, 2019: 5). As a frequent “testbed” for other emerging technologies, the government sees AI as another logical step for its status as a digital/cybersecurity pioneer, arguing that if it can “reduce regulatory complexities in a user-friendly way, the path is clear for mind-blowing innovation” (Invest in Estonia, 2018).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Companion to Artificial Intelligence and National Security Policy
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - May 2022

Cite this