AI in general 20, 2018

Analysis of the Development Potential of Artificial Intelligence in the Czech Republic



Office of the Government of the Czech Republic


Labour market effects, Retraining, Education, Privacy, Transparency,


The Czech Republic’s Office of the Government commissioned a group of 15 experts from the Technology Centre CAS, the Czech Technical University in Prague and the Institute of State and Law of the Czech Academy of Sciences to produce a report about the development potential of AI. 
The report surmises that the expected economic benefit of automation amounts to a 3.9% annual growth rate over the next 16 years, which is twice the rate of the comparator scenario where no additional automation takes place. It also cites the transformational effects AI will have on the labour market of the country.
The report advises the creation of a national strategy, which should cover 4 key domains:
  • “How can the public and private sectors ensure that businesses and research institutions receive the necessary support for the development and deployment of AI-based innovations so that the AI potential is fully exploited in terms of competitiveness and economic growth?”

  • “How can the public sector exploit the potential offered by AI in its own activities to provide high quality public services effectively? How can data-oriented businesses benefit from the secondary use of public sector information sources?”

  • “How will AI influence us as individuals and what impact will it have on the labour market? What will be its wider impact on society and how to prepare for it? How can we ensure that our social structures adapt to the changes brought by AI and that we continue to be a well-functioning, prosperous society?”

  • “What new ethical and legal issues does AI cause and how should society and the legal system be prepared for their implementation? What regulatory measures should be addressed by the public sector at the time of the rise of AI?”

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    The Government had funded 3 separate studies to address these questions and a set of recommendations on supporting R&D for AI, on issues related to the labour market, retraining and education, and on the topic of regulation has been put forward.
    On R&D, the report recommends that the Czech Republic invest in the startup ecosystem to support SMEs working on AI-related technologies. Support might take the form of simplifying legislation for new businesses, helping companies into foreign markets, strengthening local venture capital and using accelerators and incubators. In addition, grants should support young researchers to translate their work into businesses and applications. Innovations hubs should also be supported because they act like bridges among different actors in the AI ecosystem. Data to train AI systems should be made easily available to companies as part of a cross-sectoral cooperation among businesses and the university sector.
    Measures should be put in place to help Czech research get translated into practice, including a revision of existing intellectual property laws that could incentivize research organisation to try more experimental applications. 
    The document also suggests that more experimentation with AI technologies should be encouraged via incubators, hubs and accelerators. In addition to focusing on products brought to market, it is suggested that platforms for the creation and enrichment of AI training data should be supported.
    The country should invest in attracting top foreign AI researchers, develop intersectoral mobility schemes and introduce AI-related modules into various educational curricula, even in non-computer science degrees.
    The country must use its limited resources in a very efficient and impact-driven manner and AI should be incorporated into the key digitalization strategies. Furthermore, a national AI strategy should be developed.
    With regard to the labour market, policymakers must devise measures to support individuals whose job market prospects become insecure, or who find employment in roles that provide low social security protections. The impact of automation on working hours must also be assesses, and work opportunities supported especially in regions the unfavourable impact of automation will be highest. The state should develop a supported lifelong learning and vocational education system, focused on technology and soft skills, as well as support the acquisition of digital skills and retraining. For vulnerable workers, a complex system of retraining should be developed.
    Sweeping reforms of the whole educational system are suggested to support the acquisition of new technical skills, including measures to increase the social status of teachers and adopting AI tools to increase the quality of education by monitoring learners’ progress and freeing up teachers from routine assignments.
    Steps are also suggested towards effectively supporting entrepreneurship, developing fair competition, regulatory and tax policies (including international cooperations), and reacting to the reliance on international technology companies. Local public-private partnerships mechanisms should be created. The report urges the Government to take part in international efforts to accurately monitor and measure the impact of automation and digitisation on the labour market.
    With regard to regulation, the report advises that stakeholder-informed, flexible regulations should support legislative activities, and that the country should participate in the creation of international legal framework and ethical and technical standards. 
    Recognising that different industries have specific needs, the report recommends supporting industry self-regulation through ethical codes of conduct, ‘best practices’ for areas like cybersecurity and data processing, and certification to increase certainty regarding compliance with legal norms.
    The report advises that regtech efforts, which can help achieve legal compliance or ensure the effective functioning of the law should be supported. As part of this, the development of technical solutions, similar to the electronic IDentification, Authentication and trust Services, to AI transparency is mentioned. Further, technical solutions for ensuring compliance with data processing requirements should be developed. An informational self-determination tool for managing a person’s data and privacy rights should also be developed.
    The report suggests that interpretation guidelines on how certain - usually vague - pieces of legislation are to be understood can reduce uncertainty without the need for changing legislation. This may include issues like contractual liability through model contracts, tort liability through interpretation guidelines, and administrative and criminal liability. In addition, interpretation guidelines for the GDPR, especially in relation to the requirement to provide meaningful information should, and information materials about the risks of AI should also be created. 
    The report also suggest a few specific amendments to existing codes, for example to cover the use of automated decision-making in the justice system, or to permit autonomous vehicle testing. 
    It is advised that a dedicated centre be set up to continuously monitor the impacts of AI developments on society, to regularly assess the impact of regulation on various key areas, such as autonomous mobility, fintech, etc, and to cooperate with all relevant stakeholders. The aim is to be able to adapt regulation as and when necessary.
    Finally, the report suggests that “in the future” regulatory sandboxes and data trusts should be established.

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