Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez closed the Spanish Strategy for R&D+i in Artificial Intelligence workshop, held in Granada. During his speech, Sánchez highlighted that technologies related to artificial intelligence are already one of the main factors of growth, and hence Spain and Europe have to make a joint effort to move forward on this important line for social and economic progress.
Pedro Sánchez explained that the document presented on Monday is the first step in drawing up the National Strategy on Artificial Intelligence, which 11 ministerial departments will work on and which will be ready later this year.
Sánchez stressed the importance of science, innovation and universities for the present and future of the country. In this regard, he highlighted the creation of a specific ministerial department for these fields, the approval of a fundamental Royal Decree-Law to make the functioning of scientific bodies more flexible and the strengthening of equal opportunities, as well as the approval, last Friday, of the Research Personnel Statute on Training, the stabilisation of 1,500 temporary positions on public research bodies, which account for 10% of the total research workforce.
For his part, the Minister for Science, Innovation and Universities, Pedro Duque, explained that artificial intelligence is developing at such speed that it has already started to change our lives, and that this is one of the disciplines that most influences the transition towards a new society, and that the government has a strategic interest in involving public and private stakeholders to boost this field in Spain. The minister outlined the priorities included in the Strategy, including the creation of an organisational structure that allows for the development of a system of artificial intelligence, improved actions to allow for the transfer of knowledge, and the development of a system that promotes cross-cutting training.
The presentation of the Strategy was attended by the Mayor of Granada, Francisco Cuenca; the Pompeu Fabra University professor, Luc Steels; the Director of the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute, Ramón López de Mántaras; the Vice-Rector of Research and Innovation of the Technical University of Madrid, Asunción Gómez-Pérez; the Doctor of Barcelona University, Itziar Lecuona, and the Director of the automatic learning company BIGML, Francisco Martín.
Strategy for R&D+i in Artificial Intelligence
Since the end of 2018, the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities has worked, together with a group of renowned experts, in the development of a strategy that develops and applies R&D+i in key sectors for our society and for our economy. The document establishes certain priorities to be developed under the new Spanish Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy 2021-2028, that will be specified in the State R&D+i Plan, including the participation of other ministerial departments and other sectors of interest.
The document presented on Monday contains recommendations that transcend R&D+i and which, given their cross-cutting and multidisciplinary nature, require the collaboration of other ministerial departments. It is necessary to assess the importance of artificial intelligence in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, set out in the 2030 Agenda; gauge their impact on the social and economic fabric; include knowledge and the use of artificial intelligence in the job market and in fostering, recovering and attracting talent; the use of data by the public authorities; its inclusion in the education system as a lever for technological change, and ensure the ethical use of artificial intelligence, avoiding negative bias in all its fields of application.