Independent expert group launches initiative to develop Artificial Intelligence in Romania

At the initiative of the Secretary of State for Communications, Dragoș Preda and with the support of a group of Romanian experts, an independent initiative group was set up to support the development of Artificial Intelligence in Romania. AI4RO aims to encourage advanced research in the field of AI, as well as to develop a series of programs in this regard together with its members and partners.

The purpose of this approach is to develop artificial intelligence in a responsible manner, considering the risks and benefits of large-scale implementation of this technology, as well as respecting fundamental human rights and freedoms according to the Romanian Constitution, founding and amending treaties of the European Union and OECD recommendations in the field of AI.

“Artificial intelligence is a cross-sector technology and its development depends on the coherence of public and private approaches through their depoliticization and through a broad societal consensus. AI represents a unique chance for Romania, our country having all the ingredients to become a leader in this field.“, said Dragoș Preda, Secretary of State for Electronic Communications within the Ministry of Transport Infrastructure and Communications (MTIC).

“Today, AI represents a disruptive element within the societies in which we live and a fundamental concept of global technological governance. Romania’s special potential in this field is based primarily on the large number of IT engineers and talented programmers, who hold the potential to transition to AI technologies.”, explained Adrian Dan, President of EurasAI and signatory of the AI4RO declaration. “Romania must position itself intelligently and strategically for the coming decades, the purpose of this initiative being to create a basis for dialogue and collaboration between all relevant actors, and in the first half of 2021 we will develop a whitepaper on AI development.”, added Adrian Dan.

The activity of AI4RO will follow a series of fundamental principles:

  1. Responsible AI – Responsibility and balance between the risks and benefits of artificial intelligence, especially considering the risks that may affect fundamental human rights and freedoms.
  2. Open Data – Introducing and promoting the concept of digital data governance, especially the benefits of an open and shareable data structure, as well as the key role that this concept plays in the development of tangible applications of AI.
  3. Balanced labor market – A constant concern for the Romanian labor market by analyzing and preventing the side effects that artificial intelligence can have on it, as well as the development of skills for a labor market which is dynamic and complementary to artificial intelligence technologies.
  4. Stimulus for economic development​: Using AI to reduce the development gap between Romania and the European Union and OECD member countries.
  5. Unique advantages ​- Romania has multiple competitive advantages that can transform it into a regional and international actor in the field of artificial intelligence, especially on the following levels:
  • A larger base of hardware and software engineers, as well as programmers with the potential to transition in AI, when compared to other countries in the region
  • Opportune geographical positioning, with the potential to develop ultra-fast communications networks and for regional and international interconnection
  • The potential to develop public-private partnership projects with international companies developing AI technologies, given the membership of the European Union and given the strategic partnership with the United States and the possibility of attracting important public and private funding given the potential of a qualitative and quantitative leap major of the AI industry in Romania

The signatories of the AI4RO declaration decided to support the creation of a national coalition for the development of artificial intelligence (AI) in Romania in order to benefit society and economic growth, consisting of public institutions, non-governmental associations, industry bodies, unions and private companies.

AI4RO (Artificial Intelligence for Romania) is an initiative launched by the Secretary of State for Communications Dragoș Preda, with the support of a select group of Romanian experts: Maria Axente, Advisory Board Member, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence, United Kingdom (APPG AI) , David Timiș, Board Member, AI Council Global Shapers Community (an initiative of the World Economic Forum), Adrian Dan, President of EurasAI and Ioan Istrate, Vice President of EurasAI.

Among the signatories of the initiative are: Dragoș Preda, Secretary of State for Communications, Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure and Communications; Employers Association of the Software and Services Industry (ANIS); Adrian Curaj, General Director of the Executive Unit for the Financing of Higher Education (UEFISCDI); Nicolae Rațiu, Chairman Of The Board, The Rațiu Family Charitable Foundation; David Timiș, Board Member, AI Council Global Shapers Community; Maria Axente, Advisory Board Member, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence, United Kingdom (APPG AI); Bucharest.AI; Global Shapers Community, Bucharest Hub; Cristina Chiriac, President of CONAF; Adrian Dan, President and Ioan Istrate, Vice President of EurasAI, the invitation being sent to other key organizations in Romanian society and economy.

In the first half of 2021, the signatory members will support the drafting of a whitepaper on Artificial Intelligence in Romania, setting the foundation of a national AI strategy for the country.

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