newsletter #41

The first spring edition of our newsletter! Get the latest updates, exciting news from the Prague AI scene, a curated list of interesting events, open positions, and much more. Stay in the loop!

🏡 What’s new at prg․ai

Inspiration from the UK

The prestigious AI UK 2024 event by The Alan Turing Institute was attended by a Czech delegation thanks to the invitation of the British Embassy in Prague, of which prg․ai was a part. Together with representatives of the government, CzechInvest, Charles University, CTU, BUT, VSB-TUO and others, we visited top institutes such as the Royal Society or the Ministry of Science, Information and Technology and its AI Policy Directorate. In a packed programme, discussions on general AI, AI in defence and security or the future of the labour market stood out.

Behind the scenes of the National AI Strategy!

Our Lukáš recently participated in a meeting hosted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, bringing together global AI leaders from countries like the US, Canada, and the UK. This meeting highlighted the unique approaches to AI adopted by each country, offering us the opportunity to learn from their best practices. Let’s hope the updated National AI Strategy propels the Czech Republic forward, becoming a source of inspiration for other countries.

AI microcredentials on the way

Together with Charles University, we are working on microcredentials in the field of AI. We’re collaborating with the best (and not only) Prague-based AI companies to define the essential skills and knowledge needed for employment in this field. Our goal is to develop specialized courses that will open doors to AI dream jobs, even for those without technical backgrounds.

We’re teaming up with three strong players

Among our members, we welcome Make, the leading visual platform that allows you to design, create and automate anything without coding. Make is easy workflow automation with AI, including connecting AI applications for text, image or speech data with the rest of your ecosystem.

We also welcome Aricoma and Kooperativa as new partners. Aricoma is a Czech technology company that offers services in IT infrastructure, cloud, enterprise applications, cybersecurity, public sector digitalization and systems integration. As of the beginning of this year, Aricoma has completed its rebranding. Thus, companies such as Autocont, Internet Projekt, AEC and others will appear under a common name. Kooperativa perhaps doesn’t need much introduction. It has long been one of the largest Czech insurance companies, offering a full range of services and all standard types of insurance for citizens, small businesses and large enterprises.

Customized workshops and trainings

We recently delivered a successful workshop to 250 participants from the CEPS Group. Lukáš, provided a comprehensive overview of AI, covering key concepts, applications, and practical exercises. We tailor each workshop or training to maximize the value for participants. Moreover, we can do this not only for companies but also for public administration.

A science and technology park in Prague? Absolutely!

During the City Development for Industry and Innovation conference, held under the auspices of the City of Prague, a central topic was the creation of a science and technology park (VTP). Lukáš was part of a panel discussion and emphasized that the VTP should be used for education, as a meeting place and to provide more accessible regulatory sandboxes for testing. He also stressed that AI will play a significant role for Prague and its development.

Trustworthy, safe and fundamental rights-respecting AI

The final form of the Artificial Intelligence Act is here, what can we really expect from the new legislation? Our Lukáš, together with MEPs Marcel Kolaj and Ondřej Kovařík, discussed the safeguards, pitfalls and the important role of national implementation on ČT24. Academic experts, such as Jakub Mareček from AIC FEL CTU or  Alžběta Solarczyk Krausová from the Institute of State and Law of the CAS, also commented on how the new rules will affect the lives of users. But the AI Act did not only resonate in the media. For example, PwC Czech Republic organized an “AI Act Industry Roundtable”, which was also attended by Lukáš. Thanks to interesting questions, it was not just a boring commentary on the legislation. Again, we came across the key role of the AI Act implementation itself and the need to support the development of AI as such.

Connecting the dots

When we recognize a promising match, we take action. That’s precisely what we did for the Hein & Kollegen event catering to leaders and owners of German SMEs. We facilitated connections with forward-thinking Czech AI startups, such as DNAi, Rossum, and Born Digital. This collaboration has opened up numerous opportunities for our Western neighbours.We were pleased to reconnect with several old friends at the event, including Born Digital, a company with a strong track record in digitalization and AI applications for the public sector.

Industry Talk focused on cyber security

Another of the regular Industry Talks for students of our intercollegiate prg․ai Minor program was held at Gen Digital. Branislav Bošanský, a cybersecurity expert, shared his insights on machine learning models and the challenges encountered when training and deploying them.  Students learned about the Norton Genie system, which utilizes AI for real-time fraud detection. The discussion also explored the complexities of creating training datasets and data sharing between different antivirus software.

Generation AI

Influencer Sváťa Barek created a fun, interactive way to learn about artificial intelligence – Generation AI. This engaging video course, designed for 8th and 9th grade students,  explores the exciting world of AI developments.  It’s also a fantastic resource for teachers who want to bring AI into the classroom. We are glad that we could help with the preparations and contribute by consulting and inviting top experts in the field and generally being there from the beginning.

👏 Local AI scene news that makes us proud

A new era of robotics

The kick off of the ROBOPROX project with the support of half a billion crowns opens the door to the world of adaptive robots. The OPJAK project focuses primarily on the use of algorithms in production planning, energy efficiency, and the deployment of autonomous robots and drones. It involves researchers and roboticists from FEE CTU, FIT CTU and CIIRC CTU. The project was also presented in a Czech Television report.

Searching for the missing persons

Jan Faigl from AIC FEE CTU demonstrates how AI powers robots, enabling them to explore challenging environments like caves and shafts. This technology has also applications in the search for missing persons.

A drone for US firefighters

The 3D Mapping Challenge/UAS 5.0 competition seeks an affordable, autonomous drone for US firefighters.  The ideal system  provides precise positioning and high-quality 3D digital mapping within cluttered building interiors. A multi-robotic systems group from FEE CTU has demonstrated promise, successfully advancing from the semi-finals to the finals of the competition.

European Coding Championships

Students from the University of Warsaw take home the gold in the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC). The best of the Czech representatives, the CTU team, finished 25th out of 52 competitors in the final. The European Programming Championship was hosted by the Czech Technical University from 22 to 24 March.

From Strahov to Standford

Marek Miltner, a PhD student at CTU and Stanford University, used his experience from eForce to design a self-driving formula. He is writing his dissertation on artificial intelligence and energy transformation and has been invited to the prestigious World Economic Forum conference in Davos.

Why program safely?

Want to know why safe programming matters? Josef Kokeš explains the reasons and techniques in the FIT CTU in Prague podcast Ones and Zeros.

Werner von Siemens Prizes at the FEE CTU

The Czech Siemens awarded the Werner von Siemens Prizes 2023 to the best students, young scientists and teachers. Six of the awards go to the FEE CTU. Among the laureates is Jekatěrina Jaroslavceva, who used AI in particle physics research and created a model for analyzing particle interactions that is now used at CERN.

The new ELLIS affiliate in Lviv

The ELLIS Associate Unit Lviv in Ukraine is becoming part of the ELLIS network. It thus joins the ranks of key AI research centres being established in countries without a full-fledged ELLIS branch. In the case of Lviv, this role is played by the ELLIS Unit Prague at the CTU, which has a long-standing research and student exchange cooperation with Lviv.

ChatGPT as a generator of inspiration

Ondrej Bojar of Matfyz UK highlights ChatGPT and other AI chatbots as powerful tools for generating inspiration. However, he emphasizes their unsuitability for factual information and the importance of understanding their technical limitations. He also highlights the distinct challenges posed by spoken versus written language.

Success at the prestigious AAAI conference

Scientific papers from FEE CTU, FIT CTU, CIIRC CTU and MFF UK were presented at the prestigious international conference AAAI 2024 (The Thirty-Eighth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence), which is considered one of the most important conferences in the field of AI. In a competition of more than 12,000 scientific papers, less than 20% of the submitted papers were selected for the main part of the conference.

The Future of Industry 4.0

Hospodářské noviny’s interview with Prof. Mařík highlights the need for a clear direction of Industry 4.0 by the government.

What won’t the AI learn?

Pavel Kordík, vice dean of FIT CTU, reveals in another part of the 100 Questions and Answers series that AI still has a lot to learn. One of the key limitations, for example, is the inability to plan.

How much energy does AI consume?

When AI learns, it consumes as much energy as the average city. What to do about it and how are researchers trying to deal with the energy consumption of AI? Pavel Kordík from FIT CTU discussed this and much more for Radiožurnál.

Flying robots take inspiration from nature

Mimicking a flock of birds, measuring air quality or delivering packages. Martin Saska from FEE CTU discusses research into swarming behaviour in drones and the development of flying robots.

Do you use AI on a daily basis?

According to researcher David Herel from CIIRC CTU, most people use AI without even knowing it. He explains in detail what AI actually is, or how modern compilers and big language models work.

Where is the red trailer parked?

Scientists at CIIRC CTU, in collaboration with have developed a new way to search image data from autonomous vehicles using natural language. The system builds a 3D occupancy map of the environment, allowing you to simply ask questions like ‘Where is the blue van parked?’ or ‘Where is the garbage truck?’ 

AI in a key business role

On the Forbes podcast, Gen Digital CEO Ondřej Vlček discussed the significance of AI, highlighting its potential for both positive and negative uses. He also shared his vision of AI as the cornerstone of his company’s products.

The Beyond AI podcast opens up the world of artificial intelligence

WIRED Czech Republic & Slovakia and DNAi are joining forces to launch a podcast that brings together the biggest experts in AI around the world. In the first episode, “Emotional Connections between People and Machines”, you can hear David Hanson and Oliver Tian discuss the relationship between emotional intelligence, creativity and rational thinking with host Michal Kucera.

The revolutionary combination of Rossum and Coupa

Integration of Rossum with Coupa inviting you to join the webinar to learn how to use Coupa to increase productivity, communication and collaboration across your finance, sales and accounting teams.

How do recommender systems use data?

Pavel Kordík from Recombee summarizes how modern recommender systems use data to personalize recommendations. From product databases, to users and their preferences and interactions, to contextual data. What is behind the long-term success of the systems?

Is Czech more expensive than English?

Are OpenAI services more expensive in languages other than English? This ‘language tax‘ raises the question: How do the costs of AI services vary across different languages? Study prepared by beey.

The rise of virtual assistants

The popularity of virtual assistant voices in companies is growing rapidly.Josef Vopička from MAMA AI and Martin Franc explained the reasons behind this trend and the willingness to invest in such technology on ČRo [6:48:32].

The world of data and automation

Apify’s Martina Gelner was a guest on the Data Talk podcast (Spotify/Apple). Hear what her early days in the data world were like or the details of monitoring fake sale offers for the European Union.

The biggest startup investments

Amazon is investing nearly three billion dollars to the startup Anthropic, a startup composed largely of former OpenAI employees. Anthropic will leverage Amazon’s data centers and microchips for a portion of its operations.

Offline data search

MAMA AI and M Computers introduce mDataChat. An AI-powered offline data discovery solution to help organizations securely manage and access unstructured data.

An innovative approach to AI

EY Czech Republic presents innovative approaches to AI at the Microsoft Envision AI Connection conference in Prague. From best practices for deploying AI in companies to a demonstration of AI to make work more efficient for nurses.

Something from every AI aspect

The 2024 GTC AI Conference showcased over 900 presentations, offering insights into a wide range of AI advancements. For those unable to attend in California, M-Computers hosted the NVIDIA GTC 2024 Watch. Event attendees joined together to view a recorded keynote by NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang, highlighting the latest developments in AI.

Operational public transport

Despite having a good transport network, the Czech Republic faces a lack of public transport, especially in the periphery. According to Citya, AI can be the solution and is coming up with a pilot project for operational transport.

Global company bosses on AI

AI as a top priority, the return on investment in it or the impact of geopolitical uncertainty. These are the findings from KPMG’s CEO Outlook survey. It is conducted annually among more than 1,300 CEOs from 11 countries.

Detecting gunshots or panic screams

JALUD Embedded from Pilsen is developing a sound event detector. These special sensors can determine shatter glass, panic screams or even gunshots.

🎭Events we’re excited about

11 Apr AI in computer games – Jakub Gemrot (Gamedev MFF UK and Charles Games)

11 Apr AI and the law – How should it change with the advent of ever-improving intelligent systems so that society can thrive? Guests Jan Zibner, David Černý and Alžběta Krausová.

11 Apr Data for Breakfast – Are you new to Snowflake and have little or no knowledge of what the Snowflake Data Cloud is? Then this event is for you!

12 Apr Technology Olympiad Finals

13 Apr AI workshop for high school students at FIT BUT

16 Apr Sustainable AI Solutions webinar – Energy efficiency and optimization are key factors for achieving a higher level of sustainability of AI solutions.

18 Apr Digital Transformation 2024 – From revolutionary chatbots and voicebots that are changing the way we interact with customers, to deep data analytics and machine learning applications.

18 Apr Artificial Intelligence and Innovation in Education

18 Apr Tomáš Mikolov at Dejvice Theatre at Martin Myšička’s

22 – 24 Apr – ML Prague – Europe’s most practical conference on applications of machine 

23 Apr mDevCamp – The largest conference for mobile enthusiasts in Central Europe.

23 Apr KPMG Business Breakfast – Responsible AI: AI Governance

23 Apr AI Tools in Public Administration

24-25 Apr Company Days at Matfyz – Career Fair of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Charles University

24 Apr Technical measures of cyber security – David Pikálek (KPMG)

24 AprAI Forum Czechia & Ukraine

25 Apr AI in Theology – Jiří Dosoudil (TCC RG ETF UK)

25 AprAI and Accountability – Understanding the AI Act

25 Apr Laser & Optics in Automotive Industry

25 AprDesign in the Wild

For all the events that we find interesting, check our Google Calendar.

🧩 Stuff that interests us

Deepfake? What is it!

Most Czechs don’t know the term deepfake or how AI technologies work. A MEDIAN survey for CEDMO revealed low awareness of AI and its potential for creating misinformation, with only a small percentage of the population using AI tools. A survey on Statista also discusses the dangers of deepfakes and other AI fraud.

How to use generative AI?

The European Commission is responding to the rapid growth of generative AI by issuing the first unified guidance on how to use it responsibly. Building on the principles of research integrity, it offers guidance for researchers, research organisations to ensure a consistent approach across Europe. Palacký University in Olomouc has also come up with its own set of recommendations. It reflects an effort to balance the potential of AI to improve not only teaching with the need to protect personal data, intellectual property and academic honour.

AI innovations in medicine

Diabetologists are using AI to quickly perform eye exams right in their offices. Smart pumps are also accurately dispensing insulin to patients with type 1 diabetes. AI is also helping in the fight against cancer. Michal Kozubek, director of the Centre for AI in Oncology, and Petr Holub, head of the Ration AI group, presented possible techniques on CT24’s 90′ [49:00]. The so-called digital personas with emotional intelligence are on the rise as well. These chatbots are to provide emotional support to patients. Jan Šedivý’s startup is involved in their development. He focuses primarily on the development of chatbots designed to treat depression and anxiety.

Against cyberbullying

The app, developed by AI expert Jan Romportl and psychiatrist Jiří Horáček, offers young people protection and psychological support against negative comments on social networks.

How to keep your creativity when working with AI?

The solution may be creative AI cards by graphic designer and researcher Lenka Hámošová. How to maintain authenticity, creative use of generative AI and how to be in control of the design process – find out more in an interview for CZECHDESIGN. Did you know Lenka held a creative workshop at last year’s Dny AI, plus she is designing the AI Awards trophies, returning for a second year?

📢 Community calls

New UK visas

From the beginning of April, new visas to the UK are available for researchers and trainees who want to work in the five technology areas considered key by the UK government (artificial intelligence, engineering biology, telecommunications, semiconductors and quantum technologies).

Improve Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA)

Datamole is looking for contributors! Introducing the creation of effective data visualizations as an integral part of Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA). You can simplify their creation with Edvart, an open-source library for Python that you can contribute to!

💼 Open job positions

Artificial Intelligence Center FEE CTU













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