Artificial Intelligence

Human-centred AI initiative opens its headquarters

On the 9th of December 2019 The Hague played host to the launch of the headquarters for the AI research network CLAIRE (Confederation of Laboratories for Artificial Intelligence Research in Europe). CLAIRE has been established in response to the pressing need for excellence in AI research and innovation that ensures that Europe remains competitive in AI and its applications.

With CLAIRE, Europe, the Netherlands and the city of The Hague in particular plan to step up the game in terms of investment in talent, research, technology and innovation in AI, with a focus on AI for good and AI for all.

Dr Holger Hoos, Professor of Machine learning at Leiden University and the co-initiator of CLAIRE, said: “CLAIRE is the world’s largest network of AI research laboratories, and we are very happy and proud to have our headquarters in here in The Hague. Alongside The Hague’s reputation as a city of Peace and Justice, The Hague and the Netherlands more in general, are an ideal home base for CLAIRE, which is going to shape the way AI is going to be used in Europe. 

“The Netherlands is a hotbed for AI research and innovation in Europe, and home to a large number of internationally leading experts in AI.”

Artificial Intelligence is a global ‘game-changer’ and a major driver of innovation, future growth, and competitiveness. However, to fully realise the benefits and responsibly manage the risks associated with Artificial intelligence, cooperation across Europe (and beyond) is essential. The researchers and stakeholders involved in CLAIRE have identified a pressing need to increase Europe’s strength and position in the area of human-centred, trustworthy AI. 

CLAIRE aims to ensure the success of European AI through a focus on excellence in research and innovation, on attracting talent from across Europe and around the globe, and in close collaboration with a broad range of application sectors. 

During the opening of its new headquarters in The Hague, CLAIRE announced a focus on AI for good - and specifically, the use of AI to help reach the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. AI for all refers to the broad access to, and benefit from AI, across all of the society, including small, medium-sized and large enterprises, government and public administration, non-governmental organisations and citizens across Europe and the world. 

Artificial Intelligence is at the top of many national and international policy agendas. Recently, in October 2019 in The Hague, the Dutch Government launched its new nationwide Strategic Action Plan for Artificial Intelligence. 

The Netherlands has a good starting point when it comes to research on AI and its applications and plays a key role as a country when it comes to laying the foundations to ensure AI contributes in a positive way to society, jobs and income. The aim of the government is to keep the Dutch economy globally competitive by stimulating AI on the basis of the principle that both citizens and businesses can be confident that AI will be used with care.

In recent years, a discernible effort has been made to transform The Hague into the most innovative city in the Netherlands, seen through the city’s focus on fashioning technology and business with positive impacts on society, Tech for Good and AI for Good initiatives. Therefore, a human-centred focus on AI finds a well -established home in The Hague. 

Deputy Mayor of the City of The Hague Ms Saskia Bruines, added: “The use of Artificial Intelligence offers many opportunities to potentially improve the lives of our citizens. However, this requires the development of a responsible and transparent approach to the use of AI, which is an important topic for Europe, the Netherlands and The Hague in particular. 

“CLAIRE has set itself the mission to develop that approach for Europe. I am therefore proud and thrilled that CLAIRE has chosen to establish its European headquarters in The Hague. This will contribute to making the international city of Peace and Justice a very relevant place for the development of the responsible use of AI in Europe in the coming years.”

The Hague is working towards becoming a strong hub for AI research through attracting more talent. This, for example, can be seen in the new AI and Blockchain course, offered via The Hague Tech – the city’s own Tech Community.

There are already numerous examples of events, congresses and training session’s organised in The Hague that help to foster human-centred AI and to position the city as the AI centre in the Netherlands. These events help to create an environment where a strong and diverse community of AI experts is solving local and global issues and challenges.

The CLAIRE headquarters in The Hague will support CLAIRE activities all over Europe, coordinating the work of existing CLAIRE offices in Prague (CZ), Saarbrücken (DE), Rome (IT) and Oslo (NO), as well as offices soon to be opened in Brussels (BE), Zürich (CH), Paris (FR) and Cork (IE). 

The CLAIRE office in The Hague will also place special focus on AI in the public sector, AI computing and data infrastructure, and the development of a focus on AI for social good. It will interact and coordinate with the NL AI Coalition, the European Commission, AI4EU, the European AI Association, the Benelux AI Association, CBS, TNO and ELLIS.

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