Using artificial intelligence smarter

Kia Tolppanen, AI Lead at Telia in Finland

Kia Tolppanen was a fashion blogger who turned to the telecoms to explore how new tech can support humans better. She is using new methodologies, artificial intelligence and robotics to make a lot of the things we do manually today, automatic.

”Soon, humans will do less hard labor and repetitive jobs, our role will be more supervising and making sure AI and robots do the right things. That way, humans can concentrate on innovative thinking and teamwork. If you look at how data and technology can automate work that we do manually today, you can view it from two different perspectives. Either you just make the processes we use today digital, but it’s not really relevant. Instead, you have to broaden your view and look for completely new ways of doing things with support of data and technology. Computers are great at handle vast amounts of data and find patterns. With that in mind, we need to broaden the approach and find the use cases, where AI and robotics can support humans with technology in the best possible ways.”

Creating the foundation for new tech
"I have had a great first couple of years at Telia. I started in technical support, and today I am working with business development and analysis. One part of my job is to define new use cases for the technologies we invent. The other part is to actually design new and smarter methods to improve business processes with AI and robotics. First of all, I am focused on our own ways of working, but I am also helping our customers in creating more effective ways to work with new technology. In the end, my work could sit at the heart of an automatic customer support solution or as a part of a new software making your work or life simpler and smarter.”

The need for diversity in artificial intelligence
"All of these technologies are very hyped at the moment, but there is more to it than self-driving cars. I see many more ways that technology can support us humans. Today we see new ways of using different kinds of data every day. At the same time, the world’s computing capacity is increasing at the same high speed. This means that we will see new areas for AI popping up everywhere at an enormous growth rate. And when AI is taking over more and more processes, we need to secure that the teams that are working on new technology are diverse, with people from different backgrounds, gender and ages. Traditionally the industry in Northern Europe has been dominated by male engineers, but that is changing rapidly now, which is great in so many ways. And this is where I see an important role for me, as I am working at the very core of these processes. I am here to add my perspective, but also to secure that we bring a lot of different perspectives to the table.”

My inspiration?
“My mother is my greatest inspiration. She is a business woman who has successfully managed an international career and been a great mother to me and my siblings. I have also been very lucky because I have had really inspiring and supportive leaders and colleagues throughout my career at Telia. I am surrounded by experts with lots of innovative ideas and the experience.”

A great place for a career
“I was attracted to Telia because I really like the vibe here. But it’s much more than a cool place be, we have an open and supporting working culture and during my days here, I have always been encouraged to speak my mind and my leaders have coached me to pursue my career goals. Basically, I have been supported to be the best version of myself every day since I joined the company.”

My mentors
“I have had a couple of mentors at Telia who are experienced experts, but with totally different personalities and different skillsets. One of my closest mentors is a hard-core tech enthusiast who always shows me new ways to approach problems. Another mentor is constantly challenging my way of thinking. She has a unique way of solving problems and has broaden my perspectives a lot. I am also lucky to have leaders who believe in me 110% and truly wants to help and support me in my career. Besides those mentors, I have so many talented colleagues who are there to help and provide sparring when I need new ideas or perspectives. And it’s a great to be there, when they call me for assistance and I can provide them some new perspectives as well.”

Being part of a more sustainable future
“In a way, I think that I am a part of forming the future working life and making it more intelligent. Technology can solve so many problems and make the future more sustainable. And I hope I can contribute to increase the amount of innovations in climate change, with more sustainable energy use or smarter and safer health care. My way of doing that is to make basic processes in today’s businesses more effective with the use of the latest in AI. If I can contribute to society, even in the slightest way, I would be a very happy woman.”

The main roles for AI and robotics are to free humans from hard labor and repetitive jobs, but we can also use it to take better decisions. Every day AI is making online shopping experiences smoother and more personal because of new opportunities for real time response. But the big scope lies in how it can broaden our views to find completely new ways of doing things with support of data and technology. In the end, AI and robotics are major driving forces to create more intelligent business processes.


Advice I wish I got when I was at University

  1. Believe in your own inner voice
  2. Find your strengths and work with those
  3. Explore the world as much as you can



Information systems science.

Life before Telia

Alongside my studies, I worked at Telia with technical support for corporate customers. And I have worked here since then. Before university, I worked with customer service and I wrote a lifestyle blog for a Finnish magazine during a few years.

Life outside work

I recently moved to Helsinki and enjoy living near the ocean. I love to spend time with my husband and friends. I travel as much as I can and I am a bit of a foodie.


I live together with my husband.

Something you didn´t know about me

I have studied biochemistry and I am really into natural science. My dream is to combine that with my passion for technology and innovation to do something that makes the world a better place.