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Official visit to USA: AI and the future of work

Speech given by His Royal Highness The Crown Prince at the opening of the seminar "AI and the future of work" at UC Berkeley, San Francisco, 16 April 2024.

Good morning, everyone!

It is great to be back at Berkeley, where I spent three important years of my life. I installed my first modem and I got an email address. So - it was a while ago. But it was great - I could email my friends in the afternoon or at night. But hey - I still had to call my father at one o'clock...

But it's amazing to be back! It was a huge privilege to be able study here at one of the world’s leading universities, and I do sense some of the same vibe still here today.

Today, there are even closer ties between Berkeley and Norway, as the university collaborates with eight Norwegian educational institutions.

You students are very lucky to be part of this community. One of the many good things about being a student is that life on campus – social life, discussions, cultural events etc. – can be just as important in your learning experience as the subject that you are studying. At least that was how I felt. The other students, people that I met on my way, was a huge part of the experience. Of learning about the world and of life - and meeting people from many parts of the world. 

Universities like UC Berkeley are vital in the world today. When freedom and democracy are under pressure, an educational environment that fosters free and critical thinking and nurtures the ability to separate truth from falsehood is invaluable.

So is another hallmark of the Berkeley experience: being part of a diverse community that allows you to find friends among people with totally different backgrounds than your own.

I hope that all of you who are studying here today at Berkeley make the most of your time here and that you keep the Berkeley spirit alive in your life ahead – both personally and professionally!

So, with that introduction, I would like to say a few words leading up to today’s discussions. 

The aim of this seminar is not only to strengthen cooperation between California and Norway, but also to attempt to address the question: Can lessons from the Norwegian labour market help us manage the profound effects that artificial intelligence will have on our societies? 

The Bay Area is at the forefront of the technological transformation driven by AI. It is a global hub for innovation, with a unique ecosystem of academic excellence fuelled by entrepreneurial spirit. 

Norway is one of the world’s most digitalised countries, and Norwegians are quick to integrate new technology into society. But change seldom comes without challenge.

Just to illustrate the speed of the technological development we are experiencing: It took Airbnb 2.5 years to reach 1 million subscribers. Spotify about 5 months. ChatGPT 5 days…

We are in the midst of a technology revolution which is likely to create a shift in the skills we need and the way we collaborate in the workplace. 

So let’s not forget that innovation is not only about inventing new things and developing new technology. Innovation is also about finding new and better ways of working together to respond to change as a society. This is particularly important when rapid technological change is placing strain on existing structures.

For decades, the Norwegian labour market has been built on what is called the "Norwegian Model": The tripartite cooperation in which government, employer organisations and employee organisations meet, discuss challenges and agree on a way forward.

This three-way cooperation encourages dialogue, prevents conflict and motivates the parties to reach agreement by promoting mutual trust, shared long-term interests and honest collaboration. That sounds great, but it is not easy. It takes some hard work and it takes time to reach an agreement. But when agreement is reached, it is likely to last.

We believe that Norway’s previous technological transitions have succeeded in part thanks to this model. But we have much to learn from this area of California as well. 

Together, here in the cradle of innovation, I am confident that we can combine our best practices to shape the industries and the labour market of tomorrow.

Thank you very much.




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