Advisory report 5: Flemish Policy Agenda Artificial Intelligence
VARIO welcomes the initiative of Minister Muyters to allocate 30 million euros on a recurrent basis for an Artificial Intelligence programme. The expected social and economic impact of artificial intelligence unambiguously demonstrates the importance for the Flemish knowledge society of structural AI investments in education, research, innovation and awareness raising. Our neighbouring countries and the leading global economies have already started or have in the pipeline a coordinated AI approach with government support. VARIO supports the positive perspective focused on opportunities, and the holistic ecosystem approach, including attention for the shortage of talent, for awareness raising and for the social, ethical and legal dimensions.
However, for VARIO, the focus of the AI programme, both in terms of content and budget, must be on those actions that are aimed at supporting the needs of the demand side: companies, governments and other non-profit organisations. To facilitate a broad, inclusive adoption of AI in the Flemish economic fabric, the focus should not be limited to strengths or aspirations on the supply side.
At the same time, the excellent Flemish AI know-how present on the supply side is an important lever for the successful development of the AI initiative and for strengthening the entire ecosystem in Flanders.
With a view to the rapid and inclusive adoption by our business fabric, government policy should prioritise a broad spectrum of low-threshold measures for companies in all stages of maturity. In addition, sufficient budget should be allocated for a broad retraining and/or further training of already active personnel.