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IT researchers: Estonia has capability to be a leader in secure AI in Europe

According to Estonian IT scientists, the country has a unique position to lead the development of secure artificial intelligence (AI) in Europe.

In mid-February, experts in AI from Estonian and European universities, members of the European Commission, and technology attaches from member states gathered in Brussels to discuss the development trends and opportunities for becoming a world leader in the field of secure AI. The high-level seminar highlighted the strong commitment and vision of Estonian researchers to be pioneers in this field.

In light of the AI developments of the previous year, AI security has become a priority for Europe. The European Union’s AI regulation, which came into effect in February, is a significant step, but both scientists and AI experts from the public and private sectors agree that the real work is still ahead.

Gabriele Mazzini, head of the European Commission’s AI working group, presented the European vision and the processes of development in drafting the regulation.

“The European artificial intelligence regulation does not regulate the technology itself, but its applications,” Mazzini emphasized. He noted that the development of AI must be based on risk-based categorization and the application of new technologies must be in line with our fundamental values and rights to promote the creation of an innovative and secure environment.

Although the regulation is an important practical milestone in ensuring the security of AI, it is clear that its implementation largely remains the responsibility of the member states. Estonian experts believe that Estonia is the right place to lead Europe in this field through cooperation between the private and public sectors and science, and by fostering a technological innovation ecosystem.

The presentations portion of the seminar was initiated by former Minister of Foreign Trade and Information Technology, Andres Sutt, whose presentation highlighted Estonia’s advantages in developing a center for secure AI.

“We have been building a digital society for more than one generation. We have always been open to new technological challenges, which has enabled us to build the necessary ecosystem for the application of artificial intelligence in society,” said Sutt, who also deals with industry issues at the Estonian AI and Robotics Center (AIRE).

He emphasized that the growing dependence on technology also requires greater investment in research capacity and resilience against potential threats, which can be achieved through research and development.

In a panel discussion led by former minister for foreign trade and IT Kaimar Karu, the topics discussed included who actually benefits from AI; what kind of transparent and personalized government do we really want, or what can we and want to achieve with regulations? The panel involved Professor Bart Jacobs from Radboud University, Allar Laaneleht from the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Professor Christoph Lutge from the Technical University of Munich, and Professor Meelis Kull from the University of Tartu.

During the panel, it was agreed that an important condition for the development of human-centered and inclusive technology is to create trust in society. Only in this way can the emergence of a technology-benefiting elite be prevented.

Referring to Estonia’s success story in the widespread adoption of digital solutions, Meelis Kull, associate professor of machine learning at the University of Tartu and head of the AI Center of Excellence, argued that it is crucial to educate a society capable of understanding the effects, dangers, and opportunities of AI. He commented that Estonia has been particularly successful in gaining societal trust in the implementation of digital solutions at the national level, and this is something we should work on more broadly in Europe.

The seminar “European leadership in secure and trustworthy AI” was organized by the Estonian Permanent Representation to the European Union in cooperation with the Estonian Research Council under the leadership of Tallinn University of Technology’s Estonian Center for Safe and Trustworthy AI (ECSTAI) project team, which is currently in its second round of applying for European Commission Teaming funding. TalTech’s partner universities in the consortium are the University of Tartu, Radboud University, and the Technical University of Munich.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)

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