The presentation of the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy was attended by the President of Spain, Pedro Sánchez; the Third Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño; the Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Isabel Celaá; and the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto. In addition, Pilar Manchón, Senior Director of AI Research Strategy at Google; Rafael Yuste, neurobiologist behind the BRAIN project in the United States and the International Brain Initiative; Inmaculada Martínez, technological pioneer in Artificial Intelligence and digitization; and Pablo Rodríguez, researcher in long-term technological developments on disruptive technologies, also attended.
The National Artificial Intelligence Strategy is the component number 16 of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan for the Spanish economy and was created as a dynamic, flexible, and open framework so companies, citizens, social agents and other administrations can contribute to its drafting.
AI is one of the technologies with the greatest potential for transformation and impact in all areas of productivity, in addition to being an important vector for innovation and generating employment opportunities. In this regard, Pedro Sánchez stressed that with "Artificial Intelligence the Spanish labor market will be transformed and the number of jobs will increase.” The strategy will be essential in order to incorporate AI and this way improve competitiveness and social and technological development that will help to promote the use of the Spanish language in the fields that apply to AI.
The implementation of this strategy will mobilize a public investment of 600 million euros in the period of 2021-2023. To this, a contribution fund from Next Tech, which seeks to promote entrepreneurship in enabling digital technologies of a public-private nature, will be added. The General State Budgets for 2021 will provide 330 million euros for Artificial Intelligence and Data Economy.
A Plan with Six Strategic Axes
ENIA (National AI Strategy) has six strategic axes. First, the promotion of scientific research, technological development, and innovation in Artificial Intelligence; second, the promotion of digital skills, the development of national expertise and the attraction of international expertise; third, the development of data platforms and technological infrastructures that support AI; fourth, the integration of AI into value chains to transform the economic fabric; fifth, the promotion of AI in the Public Administration and in national strategic missions and, finally, the establishment of an ethical and regulatory framework that guarantees the protection of individual and collective rights, with social welfare and sustainability as vertebral axes.
In each of these six axes there are a series of measures to consider, up to a total of 30. For example, the impulse to AI research; the promotion of new national multidisciplinary technological development centers with a special focus on neurotechnologies, or the creation of programs to aid companies to develop AI and data solutions.
Likewise, the implementation of more advanced university training and professional training or the implementation of the "SpAIn Talent Hub" Program are proposed. The Data Office and the figure of the 'Chief Data Officer' will be created. In addition, shared data spaces and decentralized and accessible repositories, participating in the creation of data repositories at the EU level will be added. Supercomputing capacities will be strengthened and the National Plan for Language Technologies will be promoted.
In addition, aid programs for companies will be launched in order to incorporate AI into production processes and value chains. The "Next Tech Fund" of public-private venture capital will be launched to promote digital entrepreneurship and the growth of Business. A green algorithm program will be developed.
In the public sector, an innovation laboratory for new AI services and applications (GobTechLab) will be launched and AI will be incorporated into Public Administration to improve efficiency. Data-based public management will be promoted.
And, finally, on the ethical and regulatory side of rights protection, the social impact of algorithms will be closely monitored, a national AI quality seal will be developed and a Digital Rights Charter will be drawn up.
Why ENIA is Necessary
The effective deployment of Artificial Intelligence is critical to face the necessary digital transformation of the economy. In fact, AI contributed 1.76 billion euros to world GDP in 2018 and its contribution is estimated to exceed 14 trillion euros by 2030.
It is, therefore, a booming technology characterized by a great transformation potential from a technological, economic, environmental and social point of view, given its presence in all sectors, as well as its high impact capacity, rapid growth and contribution to improvement of competitiveness.
Currently, there are industrial sectors with room to take advantage of this deployment, such as the industry of material goods, transport, and mobility, or the health or the financial sectors, among others. In this sense, AI promotes the possibility of improving the efficiency of processes and the provision of personalized services to citizens.
The ENIA will improve production in Spain and boost the country’s competitiveness at the European and international level. This strategy is, therefore, a fundamental step in the digital transformation of the economy and society through the development of advanced technologies with high added value.
Spain faces the challenge of the deployment of AI counting on certain competitive advantages in different strategic sectors. It already has high-performance computational facilities for the processing of massive amounts of data and excellent public and private R & D & I groups.
Translated by Paloma Rodríguez Páramo