Speeches

13. 9. 2019 13:59

Prime Minister’s speech at the Solair 2019 conference

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš took part in the Solair 2019 conference in Prague, focused on ethical and legal standards for AI.

It is a pleasure for me to welcome you at the SOLAIR 2019 Conference in our beautiful City of Prague. I am proud that Prague is becoming the centre of innovation and Artificial Intelligence, thanks to the everyday efforts of our innovative businesses, start-ups and excellent researchers and experts.

This conference focuses on linking together very important topics around Artificial Intelligence with legal and ethical aspects.

It is no coincidence that you can find around a thousand AI experts in the Czech Republic, we have about 500, and that the word “robot” was invented by one of our most famous writers, Karel Čapek.

Unlike Mr. Čapek, who lived at the beginning of last century, I do not think of AI as some distant technology in the future, but as a technology which is already being used today and which will be used even more in the future.

Artificial Intelligence will be part of many domains and sectors which are used by all of us - such as healthcare, where AI can be used in the prevention of diseases or recognition of X-ray images. It will be part of the transportation, education, services, justice, trade and many other areas.

The Czech Republic has great potential to contribute to the prosperity and competitiveness of the EU as a whole. Our best traditions are in industry, defence, or security. We are the seventh safest country in the world, and our companies and developers have also succeeded in the area of protection from cyber-attacks. We are a safe cyber port in the heart of Europe. AI is at home here in the Czech Republic.

Therefore, our ambition is to become a centre for the collaboration of the best scientists and developers in these areas, and to join European efforts in the development of Artificial Intelligence, with humankind at its centre. We want AI to be not only credible, but also safe and responsible.

This link becomes especially crucial when it comes to our new national topic in this area – “AI for Citizens’ Safety and Security”. I believe that it is time to think about Artificial Intelligence not only as a technology but as a tool which can be beneficial for our citizens and society.

To support this effort we are undertaking many activities. Specifically I would like to name the new National Artificial Intelligence Strategy of the Czech Republic. My government approved this strategy in the spring of this year, and it is a great step forward on our way to becoming a leading country in the field of AI. In the strategy we set the goal to make the Czech Republic a model country for the whole of Europe in Artificial Intelligence.

This strategy falls under a broader long-term Innovation Strategy called Czech Republic: The Country for the Future, which covers innovative development until the year 2030, and I am very proud that Czech Republic has such a strategy which shows our determination to become one of the leaders in innovative technologies.

Our main priority is to build one of the European AI centers of excellence that will target exactly the topic of AI for citizen’s safety and security. We want the Czech Republic to become the centre of excellent research in AI and to cooperate with other excellent research centres in Europe.

The network is intended to cooperate with the most renowned universities in Europe, such as those in Oxford, Cambridge, Heidelberg and Munich, and I am convinced that it will be a fruitful collaboration.

I believe that together with our researchers, entrepreneurs and academics, many of whom I can see here right now, we can deliver this goal and make the Czech Republic a leading country in the area of AI.

AI systems will provide us with an unprecedented amount and quality of information. Currently, the data possessed in particular by companies operating search engines on the trends in society regarding what people search for show the “mood” of society as well as hidden relationships and correlations of factors.

I am pleased that such a representative group of legal and ethical AI experts gather here to discuss the topic and possibly come up with innovative solutions in this area.

We have excellent research in the area of AI, and we have excellent research institutions, academics, entrepreneurs and skilled people who are able to bring the Czech Republic to the top in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. I am sure we can make it together.

I am very happy to be here and I wish you very fruitful discussions.

Thank you very much.

Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister

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