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EC launches 'AI factories' to spur development

EC launches 'AI factories' to spur development

Brussels will also set up an internal AI office

BRUSSELS, 25 January 2024, 14:34

ANSA English Desk




(by Sabina Rosset) The European Commission (EC) is responding to the rapid acceleration of artificial intelligence (AI) and tools such as ChatGpt with a package of measures assisting start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working in AI in order to stimulate the development of models and applications in generative intelligence.
    At the heart of the package lie 'artificial intelligence factories', ecosystems surrounding public European supercomputers with related technological and human resources.
    "In order to develop artificial intelligence calculating capacity is needed. There is a lot of it. That is why we want to give SMEs and start-ups privileged access to the European supercomputer network. We are committed to innovation in and using artificial intelligence and we will do our best to build a thriving artificial intelligence ecosystem in Europe," said Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager.
    Artificial intelligence factories "bring together the 'raw materials' for AI: computing power, data, algorithms and talent," emphasised Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton.
    "They will act as one-stop shops for European start-ups in the field of AI, enabling them to develop advanced AI models and industrial applications. We are making Europe the best place in the world for reliable AI," he added.
    The announcement from the Berlaymont comes just over a month after the historic political agreement between the European institutions to regulate the development and use of AI systems with a specific set of EU rules - the first in the world - balancing protection of rights and support for innovation, risks and opportunities.
    In order to boost AI, the EC will also allocate an estimated four billion euro in funding up to 2027 under the Horizon Europe and the Digital Europe programmes and set up an internal AI office.
    In addition, a new working paper from the EC services will give an idea of the latest state of play, while another initiative, GenAI4Eu, is designed to support the vertical development of AI in different European industrial ecosystems and the public sector, with areas of application in robotics, health, biotechnology, manufacturing, mobility, climate and virtual worlds.
    Together with some Member States, the EC is also setting up two European digital infrastructure consortia. The first is the Alliance for Language Technologies, an initiative to develop a common European infrastructure in language technologies, of which Italy is among the founding countries (there are ten in total). The second consortium is CitiVerse, which aims to apply state-of-the-art AI tools to help cities simulate and optimise processes, from traffic to waste management.


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