The Ai in Spain
In recent years, various countries have raised the strategic development of artificial intelligence on a national scale.
So far, the United States, France, Germany, and other countries have issued national strategies in the field of artificial intelligence with the hope that this new technology will bring about a scientific and technological revolution as well as an industrial transformation.
In March of 2019, Spain's Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities also published the RDI Strategy in Artificial Intelligence (Spain, 2019).
This policy report claims that Spain needs to work with European countries to jointly promote the development of artificial intelligence, both socially and economically. On the other hand, the improper usage of artificial intelligence is a severe moral dilemma.
One of the government's responsibilities is to pay attention to the ethical issues of artificial intelligence applications to avoid potentially adverse consequences. The RDI strategy in AI identifies the following priorities1:
Developing a framework for the development of a reliable IA RDI system and the analysis of its socio-economic impact;
Identifying key priority areas in which research and innovation in AI should be maximized;
Facilitating the transfer of knowledge and its return to society;
Fostering the development of education and competences in the field of AI;
Establishing a digital data ecosystem and enhance the available digital infrastructures;
Analyzing and developing an ethical framework from an RDI perspective.
In just half a year, the Spanish government has mapped a total of 154 public and private institutions conducting research and working in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) in the country.
This map includes the current state of artificial intelligence development in Spain and also opens a path for European and international collaboration by identifying and visualizing Spain’s strengths in this area.
With its release, the government also completed one of the objectives set in its RDI strategy.
Since the announcement of the RDI strategy, Spain has devoted a lot of resources towards revolutionizing education.
In fact, two different schools, Colegio Europeo de Madrid and Brains International School, have already begun to use the new teaching methods. Each classroom comes with a dedicated robot that interacts with the students and answers their questions.
These programmable robots have built-in projectors and are equipped with facial and voice recognition functions. Students can thus learn about programming and the concept and applications of AI in society.
In the era of Education 3.0, the development of scientific and technological innovation can drive educational growth and cultivate high-quality, comprehensively developed new talents.
The AI revolution extends beyond the public sector, however, as most companies in Spain are already exploring AI capabilities to improve their businesses on different scales.
The creation of startups entirely based on AI-related technologies is no exception.
Sherpa.AI, a company founded in 2012 and established in Erandio, is developing an AI-based personal assistant for smartphones that provides predictive recommendations.
During 2019, Sherpa acquired $8.5 million in a funding round whose investments were intended to address certain improvements on its internal natural language processing and predictive AI systems.
In contrast to Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, Sherpa’s technology is focusing more in the Spanish speaking markets since it is specialized in nine different dialects, including some south-American ones.
Sherpa’s growth is very much aligned with the trend of most European startups, which differs from the US startup environment due to differences such as revenue preceding growth and traction and the additional need to adapt to the diversity of the European market.
Through schooling, strategy, markets and more, Spain has started to explore the world of AI.
Written by Qian Pan & Edited by Gihyen Eom, Jason Kauppila & Jack Argiro