Discover more from AI Austria Newsletter
AI Austria monthly: April Update
GenAI goes mainstream, updates on AI regulation, the sad state of AI research funding and many more topics.
As we transition slowly towards springtime, the climate in the AI ecosystem is heating up like a sudden storm brewing on the horizon, filling the atmosphere with a sense of anticipation. Our favorite generative AI tools have unleashed a mix of creative empowerment and accelerated risk dynamics, fuelling conversations not only about innovation but about risks and uncertainties related to their development and use. In parallel, the AI Act, Europe’s flagship legislation for a trustworthy AI framework is still a ‘work in progress’ and some way before reigning in uncontrolled and risky tendencies.
🚀 Latest Developments
While the interest in GenAI remains as strong as ever and the discussion around AI regulation is entering a new phase, last month will be remembered as a low point in the current administration's approach towards AI.
On March 7th, the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research of Austria together with the FWF (federal research fund) announced the winning projects for the ‘Clusters of Excellence’ initiative. In total 5 projects will receive funding between 9 - 21 MEUR. So far so good. For reasons unknown, the people in charge managed to not choose a single project with AI focus, although with JKU Linz AI Lab and Ellis.eu, Europe’s most renowned researcher network was participating.
To put the current funding situation for AI into perspective: The Austrian government and ministries keep spending more money on paid advertisements in the yellow press than on AI research & AI startup funding. Even more surprising, powerful industry stakeholder organizations kept silent, either ignoring the elephant in the room or abdicating their responsibilities entirely.
Startup Magazine der brutkasten used the occasion to interview us and conduct a deep dive on the sad state of affairs in Austria. The findings are shocking: the absence of a clear AI strategy, the absence of funding for cutting-edge research facilities, and the absence of funding and talent development and retention might not only deteriorate but obliviate the Austrian AI ecosystem in the long run. Currently, the ecosystem is small, but kicking, the lack of appropriate measures will destroy this delicate beginning.
💥 Call for Responsible AI: FLI Open Letter and AI Austria Statement 💥
Generative AI tools have continued to make big waves throughout March, allowing people to easily become creators and captivating the imagination of many. From image creation to creative writing, generative AI has shown remarkable potential in generating content that mimics human creativity. However, alongside the excitement, critical voices are emerging that highlight the risks and problems of artificial intelligence rapidly advancing. If you are interested in the status quo of the regulatory proposal, we are happy to share the summary of Jeannette Gorzala.
The Future of Life Institute (FLI) has published an Open Letter under the title ‘Pause Giant AI Experiments’ calling on all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4.
As AI Austria, we support the call for responsible AI. However, we believe that “without a clear legal framework, there will be no trust in artificial intelligence, but without innovation, there will also be no progress for society." Instead of a moratorium, we strongly advocate for finalizing the comprehensive legal AI framework as soon as possible in our Statement to establish a clear and trustworthy framework for trustworthy AI, allowing for innovation and societal progress.
⚖️ Regulation Update: AI Austria interviewed by derStandard 🎙
The call for regulation and clarity on the legal framework for artificial intelligence is on the rise. To give an update, our Chairperson Clemens Wasner and our Head of Legal and Regulatory, Jeannette Gorzala, were interviewed by the Austrian newspaper ‘derStandard’ [in German language] to comment on the ongoing developments.
🎨 Creative DigitalCity Vienna: Boosting Creativity with AI
Together with UIV Urban Innovation Vienna, we hosted an AI-powered creativity special edition of the Digital City Vienna Monday get2together. From stunning digital art to music composition, video transcription, and text creation, we witnessed the incredible tools available to push the boundaries of creativity and productivity.
Highlights of the event were the creative inspiration talk by 🪄 Michael Katzlberger (3LIOT, AI Austria), demonstrating how to use Midjourney and ChatGPT to boost image generation, 📢 Matthias Grabner, showcasing how to save hours of transcription time with an overview of OpenAI GPT and Whisper API, 📚Alexander Wahler (Onlim GmbH) introducing GPT and knowledge management and ✍️Dr.-Ing. Tobias Eljasik-Swoboda (ONTEC AG, Austria’s first Aleph Alpha partner), presenting how to put generative AI into production for professional texts and press releases.
🆕 New event series accompanying the national Austrian AI strategy
As part of the AI strategy AIM AT 2030, a high-profile series of events will be held in 2023 under the auspices of the Federal Ministries for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) and the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF). The event series links the actors in the ecosystem across sectors and disciplines.
The first online event will deal with the focus topic "ChatGPT und Co: How do we use conversational AI responsibly in 2030?” »more
💸 AI-powered Banking: Next Level Financial Services 💰
All industries, also banking and the financial sector, are exposed to new AI applications. The Women in Law Austria Banking initiative in collaboration with the Austrian Banking Association (Bankenverband) hosted an event in the prestigious meeting room of the Austrian Banking Association at the old Vienna Stock Exchange building to shed light on the current status of applied AI in banking and the upcoming regulatory framework. Alongside the renowned experts, Sophie Martinetz (Women in Law Austria), Doris Zingl (Verband österreichischer Banken und Bankiers), Evelyn Knotzer (Raiffeisenlandesbank Niederösterreich-Wien AG) and Alexandra Simotta (PAYONE) Jeannette Gorzala and Clemens Wasner from AI Austria joined the event to speak about the status quo and how to get ready for the regulatory and compliance race that is definitely coming.
🔍 Study Result: Risk Classification of AI Systems from a Practical Perspective 💡
Under the title ‘AI Act: Risk Classification of AI Systems from a Practical Perspective’, the Initiative for Applied Artificial Intelligence (appliedAI) has conducted a study based on the review of 106 AI systems (cataloged in a study review database), exploring which industries are more likely to fall within a high-risk classification under the AI Act and the reasons for potential uncertainties.
Key findings are:
18% of the AI systems analyzed are in the high-risk class, 42% are low-risk, and for 40% it is unclear whether they fall into the high-risk class or not. Thus, the percentage of high-risk systems in this sample ranges from 18% to 58%. One of the AI systems may be prohibited.
Unclear risk classifications slow down investment and innovation. The areas for unclear risk classifications are mainly Critical Infrastructure, Employment, Law Enforcement and Product Safety (Annex II).
Industries that should address their AI Act status early are human resources, 🤝 customer service, 🏦 accounting and finance as well as ⚖️ legal and justice.
We were happy to support the preparations of this study via our Head of Legal and Regulatory, Jeannette Gorzala. Thank you for our ongoing collaboration.
🤖 Aleph Alpha - GenAI made in Europe coming to Austria
While the hype around ChatGPT is not abating, Europe is not sleeping either. With Luminous, the AI centerpiece of the German startup Aleph Alpha, the intention is not a European remake of a public AI chatbot, but to go one step further. Together with ONTEC AG, the first official Aleph Alpha partner in Austria, individual AI solutions for companies and public authorities are now being implemented that meet the legal requirements of European countries.
🦾 Call for Action
⛰️ New regional chapter incoming, say (very soon) hello to AI Salzburg 👋
It's time for expanding and strengthening the AI Austrian ecosystem - it's time for a new chapter. Together with key players, we want to contribute to the targeted and sustainable application of AI in Austria. We will soon set up AI Salzburg - get in touch with us at email@example.com and join the initial batch of supporters.
📝 AI Startup Survey (BU/NYU)
Boston University and New York University started their 5th Annual Survey of AI Startups to collect data on ethical AI and algorithmic bias. In previous surveys, BU/NYU focused on the impact of AI on labor (2019), the impact of GDPR on AI startups (2020), ethics in AI development (2021), and corporate governance(2022). The latest survey will take 10 Minutes an can be found under this Link
⛩️ Survey on the impact of AI/ML on database architecture
Austrian scale-up Crate.io has launched a research project focused on AI/ML optimized databases to investigate the challenges of data processing and the current data ecosystem across a range of industries. The study aims to examine common technology stacks and the reasoning behind specific architectures and ecosystems designed to address AI/ML use cases. Interested participants can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
📆 Upcoming Events
25.4. City Pitch, Industry, AI and Robotics #Glaubandichchallenge
For more information on upcoming events head over to our community calendar.
🗞️ AI in the Austrian media
Satellite Warnings for Bark Beetles - https://www.derstandard.at/story/2000144498858/borkenkaefer-warnung-aus-dem-all
AI Enhances Plastic Recycling - https://www.kunststoff-zeitschrift.at/news/kuenstliche-intelligenz-verbessert-kunststoffrecycling/
🧑💻 Featured Jobs
Once a month we feature selected openings from our job board in this section.
Parkside Interactive: Data scientist (m/f/x)
Want your job listed? Head over to our Job Board.
🎧 Now, you can also listen to our newsletter here - our first trial podcast. Let us know how you like it:
Thanks for reading AI Austria Newsletter! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.