SKEL Lab is a partner in the European Commission’s “AI4EU: A European AI on Demand Platform and Ecosystem” project, that was officially launched on January 10, 2019. AI4EU aims to help the European Community become a global leader in both highly advanced and human-centred AI, promising cutting-edge breakthroughs in this pivotal technological arena.
During the AI4EU Athens meeting that took place on February 7, the coordinator of the project Patrick Gatellier, Research Director at Thales European Research Centre for Security & Information Systems (ThereSIS) and Dr. Constantine Spyropoulos, Founder of SKEL Lab, Institute of Informatics and Telecommunications of NCSR “Demokritos” and President of the Hellenic Society of Artificial Intelligence were interviewed for the Science and Technology insert Prisma concerning the project.
The European Union is very active in the field of Artificial Intelligence both in terms of research and business. As Dr. Constantine Spyropoulos, President of Hellenic Society of Artificial Intelligence, mentioned in the interview “Currently huge amounts of data are constantly created. Consequently we need to use AI methods in order to process data and exploit the results. In this context, SKEL Lab pursues research activities that aim to transform information into actionable knowledge. Furthermore, we are particularly interested in the field of Internet of Things, a field we are currently active through the SYNAISTHISI platform we have developed in the Lab “.
The first European AI-on-Demand Platform
AI4EU project that is coordinated by Thales Group, plans to build the first European AI-on-demand platform and provide a point of reference for all interested parties. As Patrick Gatellier, coordinator of the project, noted in his interview “The platform aims to bring together all parties that work independently in the field of AI, in order to reinforce intensive and efficient collaboration. The platform will be easy to use and will work as a one stop shop for all: research centers, SMEs, venture capitals as well as a place to create and experiment with AI. If we succeed in using EU research results to boost European economy, business and research itself the project will be a success”. The project will fill important technology gaps and boost AI innovation through dedicated research, innovation and scale up start-up efforts, to reinforce European excellence and leading position worldwide in major AI research and application domains.
Patrick Gatellier also revealed that “The project will offer a 3M€ Cascade Funding, an open call directed to SMEs that want to use components found in the platform, in order to create products. The Cascade Funding will fund 100 SMEs at first and through a process will locate the 10 SMEs that will be funded more heavily to create products”.
In the rapidly expanding field of AI, questions of ethical nature are often raised, and should be addressed by creating the appropriate legal framework. As C. Spyropoulos pointed out: “Globalization combined with the possibilities offered by the Internet and Artificial Intelligence can lead to major changes in the fieldS of labor, production, public administration and our everyday lives. It is therefore important that rules and protocols are adopted in good time. All the major research organizations, including NSCR Demokritos, create special committees dealing with ethical issues but it is important to involve society in the debate, especially since citizens nowadays use and share data, without necessarily understanding what it is at stake”.
The project AI4EU will position European AI stage as a leader, thanks to an AI fully embedded in human values and ethics. In this direction the project will establish an Ethics Observatory that will monitor Ethical, Legal, Socio-economical & Cultural Issues (ELSEC) to ensure the development of human-centred AI. According to P. Gatellier “ELSEC will stimulate reflection and discussion of ELSEC-AI issues and provide resources in order to educate the general EU public more accurately about the state of the art in AI. Furthermore it will survey legal issues and develop the necessary methodological guidelines for the integration of ELSEC considerations in the design and development of AI Systems”.
Conferences and events
As part of the project, AI4EU aims to bring stakeholders together through high-profile conferences and virtual events that will target corporates, researchers, policymakers and also the general public. Open to the public events, in the form of “science cafes”, will take place throughout the project and citizens will be able to participate and propose subjects for the discussion. The project will feature four events in Paris, Athens, Rome and Lisbon. The Athens event, scheduled to take place in June 2019, will feature the subject of “Artificial Intelligence and Energy”.