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Government aims to make Catalonia an AI hub in Europe

Strategic plan to boost artificial intelligence will involve public and private sectors, research institutions and universities

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12 January 2019 12:14 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The government is preparing a strategic plan for the area of artificial intelligence (AI) to attract investment and EU funding, and to help Catalonia "face the challenges" AI will bring with it in the future, according to digital policy minister, Jordi Puigneró.

"We want Catalonia to become a hub for artificial intelligence in Europe," the minister told the Catalan News Agency (ACN).

While there is still no date for when the plan will be presented, its development will include contributions from the public and private sectors, as well as from research institutions and universities.

  • "We want Catalonia to become a hub for artificial intelligence in Europe"

    Jordi Puigneró · Catalan digital policy minister

Experts under the digital policy department have been working on the plan for five months, with a focus on people, and prioritizing five main sectors: health, society, mobility, sustainability and economic productivity.

Goal: building an AI ecosystem

The plan, which will be first tested in the public administration, will be aimed at building an artificial intelligence ecosystem to develop top-notch industry and to make Catalonia stand out in Europe as "a hub of actors working collaboratively," according to Puigneró.

The announcement came during the presentation on Thursday of the European Commission's AI4EU project, which aims to boost artificial intelligence in the EU. In his speech, Puigneró said AI must "contribute to increasing individual and collective welfare."

The minister also stressed the economic benefits of AI for the country in the near future. Estimates suggest that by 2030, artificial intelligence will add 15.7 billion dollars to world GDP, which would mean a 0.8% increase in the GDP of Spain.

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  • Catalan minister for digital policy, Jordi Puigneró (by Aina Martí)

  • Catalan minister for digital policy, Jordi Puigneró (by Aina Martí)