Foto: Žiga Pele
Foto: Žiga Pele
Foto: Žiga Pele

Artificial intelligence is a priority and a breakthrough opportunity for Slovenia

In the use of artificial intelligence (AI), Slovenia is above the European Union (EU) average. AI is one of the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU, and the country’s strategic commitment to further development of AI is confirmed by its placement among the monthly topics of the Slovenian Digital Center. In addition to numerous events on the topic of AI, its applications in business operations and short trainings for individuals in the field of AI, companies with their solutions will also present themselves in September at the Slovenian Digital Center.

The level of AI use has been constantly increasing since 2015, with the greatest use of AI in practice expected among large companies, says the Digital Herald of Slovenia, co-founder and technical director of the International Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI) and artificial intelligence researcher at the Jožef Stefan Institute. Dr. Marko Grobelnik adds: “Slovenia, in terms of levels of AI per capita, ranks alongside countries such as Germany, Austria and other successful European countries. In the European space, Switzerland is in the lead, and the AI superpowers are America, China and Europe.” The seat of UNESCO’s IRCAI gives additional importance to our country in this area, and Slovenia’s aspiration to become a leader in the field of AI is confirmed by the National Program for Promoting the Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence until 2025 and the placement of AI among the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2021.

As Peter Jenko, Director General of the Information Society Directorate at the Ministry of Public Administration, emphasized at the press conference, systemic regulation of the use of AI at European level is crucial, as the European regulatory framework in the field of AI will be the starting point for national legislations through which we want to ensure the development-oriented and safe use of artificial intelligence systems: “At the national level, the position of our country towards the European regulation is currently being adopted. The National Program for the Promotion of the Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence in the Republic of Slovenia until 2025, which has already been adopted by the Government, is extremely important for the further development of artificial intelligence in the Republic of Slovenia and will be followed by the creation of a Government working group, the definition of programme priorities and the provision of financial resources for their implementation.”

The Ministry of Economic Development and Technology is also striving to strengthen the business environment, with an emphasis on innovative companies. As an example of good promotion practice, Gregor Umek, Head of the Sector for Industry, Innovation and Technology at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, cites the case from 2018, when the Ministry supported demo / pilot projects through a tender: “Registered companies must meet certain conditions – including the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), blockchain technology, the Internet of Things (IoT) and similar solutions into their business processes. Of the 33 selected projects, 24 plan to use artificial intelligence / machine learning to digitally transform their business processes, representing approximately €53 million of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and national artificial intelligence investments for businesses.’’

At BTC Company, they believe that the use of various technologies and partnerships are key drivers of business development, growth and competitiveness. Miha Mermal, Executive Director for Marketing and Sustainable Development at BTC, adds: “We see a lot of potential for the use of artificial intelligence in creating advanced solutions in logistics, retail and in the development of start-ups. In recent years, within the BTC business ecosystem, we have also been actively participating in development projects in this field with partners, such as Eligma and AV Living Lab, which tested their innovative solutions in BTC City as a test environment.”

The Slovenian Digital Center will also host Slovenian companies and innovative solutions throughout the month. SPIRIT Slovenia, a public agency, as a partner of the Slovenian Digital Center, takes care of the successful presentation of propulsive and innovative companies in the international environment also through the organization of business delegations. Mateja Jarc, Head of the Sector for the Promotion of Internationalization at SPIRIT Slovenia, adds that “companies that want to present their business ideas to foreign potential partners can do so at numerous events of the Slovenian Digital Center. In the coming months, SPIRIT Slovenia is organizing numerous business forums, networking and B2B meetings, which will enable Slovenian companies to establish contacts with foreign companies from various EU countries and beyond. Companies are therefore invited to apply for international business forums through the export window or the website of the Slovenian Digital Center”.

Foto: Žiga Pele

The Slovenian Digital Center, the largest economic event during Slovenia’s presidency of the Council of the EU, is co-created by the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, Spirit Slovenia, a public agency, DIH Slovenia and the BTC Company. The premium sponsor of Artificial Intelligence Month is the International Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI), which operates under the auspices of UNESCO.

Entry and the events in the Slovenian Digital Center are free of charge and open for everyone.

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