CEO of "Tilde": AI research in Europe is based on human value

The study of artificial intelligence is a new scientific area posing new challenges. Europe is competing with rest of the world to develop the best solutions, but wishes to do so by relying on human value, unlike China and the US, said Andrejs Vasiļjevs, CEO of the language technology company “Tilde”, in an interview with Latvian Radio on June 28.

Artificial intelligence stands for automatic decision-making. It is capable of adapting through the use accumulated data, and ranges from simple variants like the “Google” search engine and Apple's “Siri” virtual assistant to ambitious attempts at creating something close to human intellect.

On June 28, the Big Data Value Public-Private Partnership (BDV PPP) conference ended in Rīga. One of the focal points of the conference was the development of research in the area of AI.

Vasiļjevs said that China is investing in the development and study fo AI, but with the intention of using it to control society.

For example, with the help of AI, cameras can recognize and single out a criminal in a large crowd, but can also be used to repress nonconformists.

Chinese research was labeled a totalitarian AI at the summit. According to Vasiļjevs, this also poses a threat to Latvia, bearing in mind our geopolitical situation, as AI can be used to create fake news to deceive the public.

About the situation in the US, Vasiļjevs remarked: “We can already see, what's not being controlled.” He is referring to the fact of “Facebook” using technology to sell its users' data to advertisers, who then use the data to market their merchandise on the platform. 

Europe rejects both of these routes. Instead, it wishes to walk the path of personal liberty and freedom of expression, while also respecting data protection and cultural and linguistic diversity.

The dilemma in this situation is that technology manufacturers want to make life easier and create good solutions, but they have to choose which data the AI should be allowed to use to learn and develop, and which data should be protected. “Tilde”, for example, has used a lot of publicly available language data to train their product.

The summit adopted a joint document, which the European Commission is set to use in the future. And from 2021, funds from the European Union will be allocated for the development of various solutions.

Speaking about negotiations, Vasiļjevs said that Europe needs to agree on a strategy that would be common to all countries. At the same time, there is also some competition within Europe. Vasiļjevs believes that Latvia has good opportunities for competition – smart scientists and innovative companies. In the field of language technology, for example, Latvia is able to develop world class solutions that could compete with “Google”, among others. 

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