newsletter #35

After the summer break we welcome you to our thirty-fifth newsletter. In the October issue you will find a lot of AI news that you should not miss. At the same time, get your calendars ready, because this month is packed with interesting events that you should definitely not miss. We wish cantors and students a peaceful start to the new semester and the rest of our readers a colourful start to autumn.

🏡 What’s new at prg․ai

Four weeks, four cities & artificial intelligence

The month-long AI festival kicks off this year on 9 October. Together with others, we are preparing some 100 events for you – lectures, workshops, presentations and an interesting accompanying program. The central theme of the event is the introduction of artificial intelligence in relation to current events and the development of this technology. From schoolchildren to seniors, from creatives to investors – AI Days will offer something for everyone interested in AI and its applications. A significant part of the programme will be devoted to practice and specific examples of the use of AI in a variety of contexts. Details of specific events can be found in the programme on the website.

Oscars for AI excellence 

As part of AI Days, we decided to revive the AI Awardsa prize for significant achievements in the field of artificial intelligence. We want to highlight successful stories, personalities, companies and organizations that are making significant contributions to the development of AI in Czechia across the local scene, from business to science to the public sphere. Do you know a person, team, company or organization whose story, activities or results are worth highlighting? Nominate them! You have time until 12 October. The winners of the AI Awards 2023 will be selected based on the nominations by an expert jury composed of leading representatives of the Czech AI scene and other notable figures. The awards will be given in the categories of AI and societal contribution, AI in education, AI in research and development, AI in public administration and AI in business. The award ceremony will take place on 1 November in Prague.

Reinforcing the ranks of our industry members

MAMA AI is now one of the industry members of! The MAMA AI Group stands as a beacon of innovation in the AI landscape. Their work is rooted in five fundamental pillars: Conversational AI, Search AI, Generative AI, Personalized AI, and Metaverse AI. These areas, together with their expertise in Blockchain AI, highlight their comprehensive approach to various AI domains, including natural language understanding and semantic search. You may have heard of the company recently thanks to the successful implementation of voice technology. The artificial voice of the new AI anchor of the Expres FM radio station Hacziko was provided by MAMA AI – they took care of the synthesis and modulation of Bára Haczi’s voice.

Valeo advances self-driving vehicle development in Czechia

Get a glimpse into the future of automated driving with David Hurych and Jakub Černý, experts from Valeo. In an extensive interview for our Journal, they describe the coming era of automobilism, from the challenges of AI to the promise of safer travel.

Journalist turned also AI visionary

Václav Moravec, a member of our Executive Board, gave an interview to Hospodářské noviny about artificial intelligence, journalistic credibility and digital surveillance. According to him, the Czech Republic has fallen behind, we have top AI experts, but can’t fully harness their potential.

Crossroad (not only) for pedagogues

Together with Digikoalice Národního pedagogického institutu (NPI), AI Dětem, Aignos, SCIO, Technologická gramotnost, Smíchovská střední průmyslová škola (SSPŠ), Machine Learning College and DigiHavel we have prepared a website that will direct you to courses, seminars, workshops or educational materials. AI to Schools serves as a guide for teachers, principals, and parents to quickly find what they need. Whether it’s training for teachers, workshops for students, online or in person, free or for a fee, for advanced learners or beginners.

Working with Charles University for AI in education

Charles University has launched an informative website to present the findings of a jointly established working group that will prepare Czech education for the inevitable changes in light of advances in the field of artificial intelligence. The purpose of the group is to collectively find answers to the challenges associated with the spread of AI, currently with large language models.

Elements of AI to more schools and offices

The free online course Elements of AI, the Czech version of which we administer, is now available as a course at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of the Silesian University in Opava, the Technical University of Ostrava, the University of Ostrava, the Technical University of Liberec, the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen and the Czech University of Agriculture in Prague. Since September, it has also been offered internally to employees of the Prague City Hall, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Czech Television.

Prague scene introduced in Brussels

Our director Lukáš Kačena was a guest of the ARICOMA Inspires series at the Prague House in Brussels. He presented our local AI scene and the best it has to offer. Lukáš also gave an interview to Elita magazine, where he provided insights on how AI can help us create a better future.

NPI roundtable

Our Lenka Kučerová took part in a roundtable debate under the umbrella of the National Pedagogical Institute on AI in education. What innovations will its targeted integration into teaching bring to educators and pupils and how to go about it? Watch the recording of the discussion.

AI and human rights – opposites or partners? 

A workshop was held at the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics (CIIRC) as part of the research project “Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights: risks, opportunities and regulation” supported by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic, of which we are a guarantor. The Faculty of Electrical Engineering (FEL) of CTU, Masaryk University (MUNI) and Ambis University are participating in this interdisciplinary project as well.

👏 Local AI scene news that makes us proud

Alquist still among the best

In this year’s Amazon Alexa Prize, the Alquist team came in third place globally. In an international competition of more than 200 teams, the CTU FEL student team led by Jan Šedivý made it to the finals. This year’s bronze is yet another in a series of top placings – after last year’s victory and 2nd and 3rd place in previous years, this is further confirmation that Alquist is among the world’s top.

Restoring biodiversity

Scientists from the Centre for Artificial Intelligence at the FEL CTU are contributing to the automatic re-identification of sea turtles, reptiles and other animals using advanced artificial intelligence tools. This is increasingly being used to help mitigate the severe impacts of the climate crisis, such as the loss of the biological diversity.

The robotic watchdog pack

Axis Communications and two teams from the Department of Cybernetics at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of CTU presented the integration of autonomous drones Fly4future and the robotic dog Spot from Boston Dynamics into an IP camera system at an event for security experts. 

AI weather forecast

How to teach AI to predict the weather in the best way possible? See the video by MS. Petr Šimánek from the Data Science Laboratory of FIT CTU. He works, among other things, on the project of using artificial intelligence to improve the prediction of rainfall.

Matfyz hosted prestigious international conference

The Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Charles University was proud to host the prestigious ICAPS 2023 conference this summer. This leading international conference on automated planning and scheduling attracted nearly 300 researchers from around the world, including speakers from the USA, Canada and other countries.

Will AI replace God?

How does advanced technology affect human spirituality? Can artificial intelligence help discover the human soul? And is there a risk that AI will one day replace God? A joint project of researchers from the Evangelical Theological Faculty and the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Charles University is touching on such questions and much more.

Personalized ChatGPT

Blindspot AI has launched a virtual assistant called AskYourData. This assistant works on the basis of ChatGPT, only it’s trained on the company’s internal data. Therefore, it can serve as an instant personalised mentor in any company.

Big news from Phrase

Phrase has welcomed Dr. Alon Lavie to the position of Vice President of Artificial Intelligence Research. Dr. Lavie has been at the forefront of AI research in language technologies for many years and his extensive experience in the field will complement Phrase’s strong leadership in these industries. 

This originally Czech company has raised almost 300 million CZK to develop its AI in translation. With a team of specialists working with AI since 2017, Phrase is going to use this investment from Canadian CIBC to further advance the field of machine translation and language models.

DNA analysis among the best ideas of the year

DNAi’s revolutionary Floxgen software is among the top 12 Vodafone ideas of the year. It speeds up the processing of genomic data and facilitates early diagnosis of genetic diseases. It can process, anonymise and make available a huge amount of genomic data (DNA). This will significantly speed up the work of bioinformaticians and thus help doctors. 

Petr Baudiš: Czechia cannot market talent

In an interview with e15, Petr Baudiš, founder of the startup Rossum, expressed the potential of Prague as a centre of scientific knowledge in the field of artificial intelligence. The only thing the Czech Republic cannot sell is talent in the field, we import it. Where should society be heading? And will artificial intelligence help us get there? Read the full article.

Resistant AI among top Czech startups

Forbes has compiled a ranking of the ten most innovative startups of 2023. The imaginary gold medal this year went to Better Stack, which helps with unexpected technical problems and outages. Artificial intelligence also dominated the selection with Resistant AI coming second and Filuta AI third.

Millions for visionaries

Startup E2B aims to create tools for developers working with AI agents. The company nearly broke an earlier record when it managed to scoop up a sizable investment at quite an early stage. In fact, E2B raised 2,5 million dollars in a so-called pre-seed round.

🎭 Events we’re excited about

6 OctoberScientists’ night

Let AI reward you with a smile, take a journey into a virtual world, order coffee from a robot or play student computer games. Where. In the laboratories of FIT CTU in Prague during the Night of Scientists, from 5 pm to 10 pm, free admission.

7-22 October – EU Code Week

A project that promotes creativity, problem solving and collaboration through technical activities. The aim is to make programming more visible – to show young people, adults and seniors how programming can make ideas happen.

10 October – LLM Meetup

At the Prague Fall LLM Meetup you will have the opportunity to listen to four short and insightful talks from leading representatives of generative AI. The event takes place at Apify’s offices in the heart of Prague. Book your last tickets for free.

10 October – Týden inovací

On Tuesday 10 October, the main event of the 8th edition of the Czech Innovation Week will take place at the ČSOB Campus. Speakers include Abram Maldonado, a representative of OpenAI. Domestic personalities will include Tomáš Mikolov, Stanislav Fort and Ondřej Vlček.

17 October – SH!FTS 2023

How to stay on top in times of change? And how to understand the current geopolitical risks? The SH!FTS 2023 conference is for those who want to understand the radical transformations around us. In addition to keynote speaker Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the programme will feature speakers such as Petr Baudiš and Petr Zahradník.

17 October – Career fair COFIT

A career fair will be held at the Faculty of Information Technology of CTU. You can meet global industry giants, but also interesting startups with innovative potential and an ethical approach to business. Students can also find out how to combine internships with their studies or arrange thesis topics to provide them with experience for the future.

17 October – Academic integrity in the AI era

The Hybernská Campus will host an event hosted by Charles University and Turnitin, which will open the topic of academic integrity in the emerging era of artificial intelligence. Be part of the discussion regarding the opportunities, but also the challenges that the use of AI brings to the creation of professional texts, learning outcomes and to education as a whole. The event will take place in a hybrid format.

17 October – AI Happy Hours

Attend an informal gathering of representatives of small and medium-sized manufacturing companies at CIIRC CTU and see that the road to innovation does not have to be long or thorny. Come and be inspired by concrete examples of technologies, share your experiences and consult with experts on how to mix the right innovation cocktail for your company.

17 October – AI in education

Interested in using AI in education? Attend a lecture at Palacký University in Olomouc that will focus on key information about AI and its importance in education at all types of schools.

18 October – Better Data 2023

A conference where you will learn about the latest technologies directly from the most authoritative speakers. In addition to interesting presentations, you can look forward to demos, expert tables, specialists at exhibitor booths, and more.

You can find all the events we find interesting in our Google calendar. 

🧩 Stuff that interests us

  • Newsletter Progress in AI by Stanislav and Kristina Fort is back. If you are tempted to read news from the technical development of AI and the world of AI regulation, don’t hesitate to follow.
  • Driving a car, controlling smart homes or security cameras… AI can do it all today. But how do we make AI safe to use? Listen to the podcast episode “Ones and Zeros” with Prof. Pavel Surynek, Ph.D., an expert on artificial intelligence in robotics and head of the Laboratory of Robotic Agents at the CTU FIT.
  • Jeremy Howard, co-founder of and creator of the ULMFiT approach on which all modern language models (LMs) are based, takes you on a comprehensive journey through the fascinating landscape of LMs in his video.
  • As policymakers begin to regulate AI, it will become increasingly necessary to clearly distinguish between types of language models and recognize the unique characteristics of the underlying models that may require additional regulatory attention. For more on how they work, see the Ada Lovelace Institute article.
  • JournalismAI presents the second global survey of what news organizations are doing with AI. The media landscape is undergoing a significant transformation since the spread of generative AI. Opinions fluctuate between enthusiasm for positive breakthroughs in some fields and concerns about possible deepening discrimination and social inequality in others. This research explores these concerns in more depth
  • OpenAI is also trying to help teachers use AI in the classroom. To that end, they have published a teacher’s guide, including an explanation of how ChatGPT works, what are its limitations, and how effective AI can really be, including its biases.

Read our m<AI>m

The Czech media scene is bursting with AI-related news. Are you getting lost? Follow our media<AI>monitor. Bi-weekly, we’ll send a rundown of AI news straight to your inbox to help you drown out the buzz and stay informed. Czech only for now.

📢 Community calls

ML Prague 2024 – Call for workshops proposal

ML Prague conference invites ML, AI, and Deep Learning experts to submit their proposals. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Proposals must include the title, abstract, names of the speakers and the company. 
  • Prepare your content for a duration of 3 hours. 
  • Content must be very hands-on and genuinely useful for advanced technical audience.
  • Workshop speakers will get a free ticket for the whole conference.
  • Proposals must be submitted via this form until October 10, 2023.

💼 Open job positions



Ústav informatiky AV ČR

Ústav fyzikální chemie J. Heyrovského AV ČR

Ústav molekulární genetiky AV ČR

Fyzikální ústav AV ČR