Artificial intelligence is sometimes referred to as the new oil and is seen as one of the main drivers of economic growth in the decades going forward. For the Czech Republic, the most industrialised of all European Union countries, there are clearly a lot of challenges as one of the main elements of the so-called AI revolution will be the increased use of robots and machines effectively learning on the job and from each other.
This Wednesday saw a conference in Prague called I, Robot, (Já, robot) bringing together researchers in both the public and private spheres to debate advances in robotics and artificial intelligence. One of the participants was Olga Afanasyeva, the COO of the Prague-based start-up GoodAI, which has been profiled by publications like The Economist, Forbes and also Radio Prague. Much of the discussion focussed on the future “just around the corner” or already here.
Earlier this year, the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee caused something of a stir with a resolution aiming to grant robots legal status in order to hold them ‘responsible for acts or omissions’. The move caught some off guard in what is quite complex or even uncharted legal territory. Alžběta Krausová, a well-known researcher at the Institute for State and Law at the Czech Academy of Sciences specialising in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence is one who has followed the conversation closely as well as added to it. She
A new Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics was ceremonially opened at the Czech Technical University in Prague’s Dejvice district on Tuesday. The teaching and research centre cost around CZK 1.5 billion and is intended to support the digitisation of Czech industry, a stated priority of the government. President Miloš Zeman and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka attended the opening.
Academia Film Olomouc is one of the longest running film festivals in the Czech Republic. What is unique is that this festival, now in its 52nd year, focusses largely on science documentary films. The Future is Now is this year’s motto and it won’t be a surprise that films being screened examine both the promises but also potential risks in fields moving rapidly forward, such as robotics, bioengineering, nanotechnology and of course the big one - artificial intelligence.
This weekend saw the return of Robotic Day in Prague, organised for the 13th time by the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Charles University. Teams, largely of students from either university or high school, who registered to compete, tested their designs in various competitions with colourful names like Bear Rescue and Ketchup House. Most importantly Sunday of the two-day event was open to the public, for anyone interested in seeing some of the robots for themselves.
Prague recently saw the return of robots in Café Neu Romance, an annual festival held at the National Technical Library celebrating robots and artistic performance. I met with the festival’s founder Christian Gjørret to discuss how this year’s edition went and have him explain what it was all about.