AI coalition wants algorithms to work for everyone

October 9, 2019
EAISI headhquarters in Eindhoven

Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays an increasingly important role in our economy and society. To ensure that the Netherlands does not lag behind other major players, the Dutch AI coalition was launched yesterday in The Hague. The coalition is a collaboration between companies, governments, civil society organisations and universities, including Eindhoven University of Technology. With the recent establishment of the AI Institute EAISI and an investment of 100 million, TU/e is an important player in AI research and education.

In the US, China and also in a number of European countries, there is already a strong commitment to AI, with billions of investments being made in research and innovation. According to the coalition, the Netherlands cannot be left behind. Parties that are the first to start working with AI will reap the most rewards and put those who lag behind on an often insurmountable backlog. According to the coalition, this requires not only substantial investments, but also cooperation between the government, the business community and knowledge institutions such as universities.

Investment

The coalition wants the Netherlands to invest more than two billion euros in AI over the next seven years. More than half of this will come from the business community and other private institutions. The government will also be required to make a substantial contribution. With investments of this size, the Netherlands would catch up with its neighbours England, Germany and France.

On the same day that the AI coalition was presented, the Dutch government announced its AI strategy. This year, the government wants to invest 64 million euros in this technological development. This amount will be doubled in the coming years, reaching a combined total of one billion. State secretary Mona Keijzer (Economic Affairs) wants to make sure "that we are not lived by this technology, but that it works for us".

According to her, the Netherlands must accelerate the development of AI if we want to continue to be at the forefront of a globally competitive economy. She sees plenty of opportunities for this. "The Netherlands has an excellent starting position, because of its high quality connectivity, the strong basis for public-private partnerships and world-class research".

Frank Baaijens, rector magnificus of TU/e, is pleased with the plans of the cabinet. "For the future of the Netherlands, and certainly for the high-tech sector of Brainport Eindhoven, it is of great importance that we occupy a strong position in the field of AI. A public-private investment of 2 billion over the next five years lays an excellent foundation for this."

Motto

The motto of the new AI coalition is 'Algorithms that work for everyone'. The coalition thus stresses that, unlike in China and the US, humans must be central to the development of AI. This should guarantee that new applications of AI have sufficient support in society and are not in conflict with fundamental rights. Socially responsible applications of AI are also high on the agenda at the TU/e. The new AI institute EAISI devotes a great deal of attention to the ethical and moral aspects of AI, the interaction between man and machine and the effect of AI on society. In addition, EAISI focuses on the use of AI in high-tech systems such as cars, medical equipment and industrial applications.

Media contact

Henk van Appeven
(Science Information Officer)