prg.ai newsletter #43

The spring AI 4 Business event, discussions on the future of AI in Europe, public administration training in AI, new partnerships, the latest on robotic bees, key startup lessons, advancements in fighting financial crime, and a roundup of exciting events. All this is covered in the May edition of our newsletter. Stay tuned for more updates!

🏡 What’s new at prg․ai

Contributing to the future of AI in Europe

Experts from across Europe, including our Lukáš, participated in the Artificial Intelligence in Research and Development workshop in Brussels. During a panel discussion, he showcased the dynamic Czech AI scene and shared the Czech perspective on AI. Lukáš emphasized key topics such as supporting the next generation of AI talent, fostering collaboration between academia and industry, and educating the public about AI’s opportunities and challenges. His insights were well-received by representatives of the European Commission’s AI Office. Active engagement in the European AI discourse is essential, especially with the emergence of the European AI Office, and we are proud to help shape the future of AI in Europe.

Educating public administrations in AI

Our tailored training series continues, with nearly 1,000 employees across various ministries trained to date. Lukáš presented AI highlights, including practical exercises and public sector examples, at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. The management of the State Investment Promotion Fund also delivered this introductory lecture. We also offer advanced training sessions; for example, we’ve held five sessions at the Ministry of Regional Development, with the most recent one in May focusing on generative AI in collaboration with Šimon Kos (MAMA AI, Světlodat).

Generative AI in Universities

We recently held another meeting with universities across the country on the use of generative AI. Representatives shared their experiences working with AI in relation to students, faculty, and staff. We will continue this initiative in September with further activities, such as a meeting of teachers and sharing of best practices.

New partner on board!

In May, we welcomed a major new partner to our ranks: Google, a global leader in artificial intelligence. Google has a long history of AI research and development and offers a wide range of products and services, including their flagship Gemini model and an AI mobile phone launched in the Czech market last year. We’ve met with Google at several events, most recently at the Think AI conference in May, focusing mainly on how AI can help your company, trends in digital marketing, or inspiring stories from industry figures. 

Connecting the dots

As part of Inno Days, Kooperativa hosted the first AI Fair with the goal of connecting selected AI companies. We’re pleased to have assisted in this effort and recommended a number of (not only) our members, including Blindspot AI, Emark Analytics, Knowdroids AI, and Rossum. Filip then presented prg.ai to over two hundred executives (both in-person and virtually), focusing on our community-oriented activities.

Beyond Czechia

We met with a delegation of engineers from the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) of the Hong Kong government. Lukáš and Filip introduced prg․ai, the Prague AI ecosystem, and our academic and industry members and partners. Together, they discussed opportunities and connections between Czechia and Hong Kong in the field of AI, particularly regarding efficient energy management of buildings. 

Additionally, we met with a group of American investors and entrepreneurs, 42Geeks, who began their Central European tour in Prague. During their three-day visit, Lukáš provided a comprehensive overview of the Prague AI ecosystem. We are delighted to be approached by international visitors and delegations interested in our activities and the local AI scene. 

AI 4 Business #1.5

Spring AI 4 Business is over! We had a half-day packed with practical tips and tricks on how to get ahead of the competition with AI. Real-world examples were shared, from smart traffic bollards to email classifiers. Thank you to everyone who attended and shared their experiences: DataSentics, EY, Blindspot Solutions, MAMA AI, Datamole, DNAI group, Ententee, KPMG Czech Republic, and Profinit. A special thanks to our Lukáš and Michaela Bauer from ČSOB for the opening remarks and our moderator Zuzana Hodková for guiding us through the event. We look forward to seeing you again in the autumn for a full-day event!

AI and mental health

The AI for Body and Soul conference, which explored how AI is transforming physical and mental health, has concluded. Debates covered a wide range of topics, from AI advancements in cancer treatment, specifically in radiology and liquid biopsies, to its use in child and adolescent mental health therapy, and the legal and ethical implications of AI. The conference was organized in partnership with Charles University.

How can AI change the world of nonprofits? 

This is just one of the questions Filip discussed with Viktor Dušek and Barbora Kroužková on the Forum of Donors podcast. You’ll also hear about the pros and cons of AI, how it can simplify our work, and how it can benefit nonprofit organizations.

Industry Talk focused on algotrading

The last Industry Talk for our prg․ai Minor students was hosted by Qminers, which focused on the use of machine learning (ML) in algorithmic trading. Silvestr Stanko presented an overview of algorithmic trading, the specifics of its various areas, and the potential applications of ML in this field. The discussion delved into topics such as the impact of ML speed on pricing, the types of data and models Qminers use, and the process of implementing new models into the market.

Focused on SMEs

Our Filip spoke at a seminar of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, where he addressed mainly representatives of SMEs. The seminar focused on SME support, sustainability, and digital transformation. The agenda included information on SME Strategy, OP TAK, ESG, AI, and cyber security, among other topics.

Educational activities

Our Bára attended a meeting of PEN Worldwide members, where she presented our work with a focus on our educational activities. She highlighted our unique inter-university program prg.ai Minor, the Czech adaptation of the globally popular Elements of AI course, and AI microcredential programs for Charles University.

Where can you meet us?

We look forward to meeting our new partners on 12 June at the first Google Cloud Summit Czech Republic. Join us for the largest cloud event in Central Europe and learn about the latest trends and innovations in artificial intelligence and cloud technologies. You can choose from a wide range of lectures and workshops depending on what you are most interested in. Don’t forget to register!

On 13-14 June, a two-day packed program under the auspices of Charles University awaits us. It will focus on the impact of artificial intelligence on policy, education, and research, including a panel on practical technology demonstrations moderated by our Filip. 

We also look forward to seeing you on 17 June at the Pride Business Forum conference on workplace equality, themed “Networks of Support.” You’ll learn about the latest diversity news and trends and how to foster inclusivity for all employees. The event also includes a memorandum signing ceremony for new Pride Business Forum members.

We’ll also be at the two-day Digital Czech Republic conference, which we are partnering with this year, on 18-19 June. Expect an interactive exhibition focused on modern technologies, AI, robots, and virtual reality. Our Lukáš will speak on the “Welcome to the world of tomorrow with AI” panel, alongside MEP Ondřej Kovařík, leading Czech AI expert Tomáš Mikolov, and Jeremy Rollison, Head of EU Policy and Senior Director of European Government Affairs. Registration is free.

👏 Local AI scene news that makes us proud

Robotic bees as the future of a sustainable ecosystem

The European RoboRoyale project uses microrobots in hives to combat bee die-offs. Experts from the Czech Republic, Austria, Turkey and the UK are involved in the research. A team led by Tomáš Krajník (AIC FEE CTU) is modelling bee behaviour and controlling the robots.

New Czech-Belgian laboratory

FIT CTU in cooperation with the Belgian University of Antwerp (UAntwerp) introduced the Normalized Systems Laboratory (NSLab). The new research facility is intended to improve evolvability and sustainability in the ever-changing software development environment.

Launch of essays on consciousness

On 13 June, the book “ESSAYS ON CONSCIOUSNESS (Towards Artificial Intelligence)” will be launched. The authors Vladimír Mařík, Tat’ána Maříková and Miroslav Svítek, together with other editors, will present their new work, which focuses on the exploration of consciousness and its relationship to the development of artificial intelligence.

Use of robots in Czech industry

Companies are adapting to the use of robots in production, despite their imperfections. This is due to the need for flexibility and the shortage of workers. The return on investment in robots is no longer the only criterion, as human power will be diminishing. More in the interview with Libor Přeučil (CIIRC CTU).

Take a virtual reality tour of Santini Chapel

A mobile app with augmented reality, a new website with a 3D model and a haptic model make the Santini Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre in Prague 2 accessible to all the senses. These tools, presented for the first time at the Open House Prague festival, will enhance the experience of visiting the Baroque building located on the grounds of the FEE CTU.

How to improve supercomputers?

The new video series Science at the UK (Věda na UK) features scientists from Charles University who are tasked with explaining their research in one minute. The first guest is mathematician Erin Carson, who works on developing algorithms for supercomputers.

Industry 4.0

A recording of a lecture by leading Industry 4.0 expert Prof. Wolfgang Wahlster. Learn how AI can support Industry 4.0 and explore the next generation of big language models and their potential to revolutionise the fourth industrial revolution.

Artificial intelligence instead of a doctor?

AI in healthcare helps, for example, in diagnosing diseases. But who will be responsible if it makes a mistake? Olga Štěpánková from CIIRC CTU is among the respondents on TV Nova.

Digital tools for better thinking

What is the zettelkasten method or a thinking algorithm? What note-taking applications are there and what are the advantages of non-linear note-taking? All this in the new episode of the faculty podcast Ones and Zeros with Eliška Šestáková (FIT CTU).

A new era of cell imaging

Scientists can now use three-dimensional 3D models to image cells. AI helps to create these. Jana Nebesářová from the Biological Centre of the Academy of Sciences told ČRo [19:37] what AI is helping with.

Automation is changing work safety

Collaboration between humans and robots requires new safety systems such as cameras and sensors that monitor movement and predict human intentions. This is what Pavel Burget (RICAIP Testbed CIIRC CTU) points out. According to him, systems are beginning to emerge that monitor human movement, predict what movement the human will make, and adjust the robot’s trajectory accordingly to avoid it. 

Application for Zoo

CTU students are developing a mobile application for the Prague Zoo using AI. It will offer interactive maps, information about animals, feeding and event notifications. Jaroslav Lískovec from CIIRC is working as a mentor on the project, writes Novinky.

Introduction of industrial testbeds

Trends, visions, technological innovations and practical solutions under the Industry 4.0 umbrella developed in the environment of industrial testbeds. An open day at CIIRC CTU presented how testbeds in Prague, Brno and Ostrava can help companies with digitalization and automation.

Focused on AI Act 

EU Member States have given their final endorsement to the AI Act. Technologies will be regulated according to how much risk they pose. Alžběta Solarczyk Krausová, an AI expert from the Institute of State and Law of the CAS, explained this in more detail to ČT24. Scientist Tomáš Mikolov and philosopher David Černý consider the AI Act to be bureaucratic and limiting Europe’s competitiveness. More on ČT24. Justýna Frommová from the FIT CTU showed how some technologies work, which AI act prohibits or restricts. The analysis of prohibited and restricted categories was brought by e.g. Věda24.

In the top 50 in the fight against financial crime

Resistant AI have been selected in the first edition of FinTech Global’s FinCrimeTech50! Their innovative solutions in the fight against financial crime, fraud and money laundering make them one of the top 50 companies selected by an expert jury.

How was it with Mama?

In the podcast Data Talk, Honza Cuřín and Pepa Vopička reveal how MAMA AI, a company focused on AI products in the field of speech technology, was founded. Learn about the development of synthetic voices, the impact of LLMs and specific products like Telma AI.

Try the bus!

Pardubice Region in cooperation with Czech start-up CITYA launched the #ZkusBus app, which uses AI to optimise minibus routes on demand. Passengers book and pay for a ride via mobile phone, and the minibus picks them up within 15 minutes, Metro and Novinky.

Work on the projects of the future

Aricoma is launching the next phase of this year’s campaign. It aims to raise awareness of its brand as an attractive employer and a place where people can actually work on projects of the future.

Change everything business with generative AI

Leverage call and chat logs, identify potential customers or automate the extraction of information from documents. All this in a recorded webinar with David Vopelka of DataSentics on how generative AI can improve your business.

The most important startup lesson?

In Byznyscast, Jakub Balada, co-founder of Apify, shares his experience of participating in the Y Combinator Fellowship program and gives advice to aspiring entrepreneurs. He reveals what to look out for in the first six months of business and why it’s a good idea to include non-profit projects in your portfolio.

Strong players

Rossum earned the “Strong Performer” designation in The Forrester Wave report in the areas of Gen AI post-processing and Innovation. In particular, the report highlighted the use of generative AI for document mining and positive customer feedback on its overall value and user experience.

AI against financial fraud

Fraudsters are using artificial intelligence to target bank account entry processes and operate on a large scale. Resistant AI’s Martin Rehák discusses how AI is being used to both target and protect financial services companies in the GlobalData Thematic Intelligence podcast.

Aricoma is growing

With the acquisition of KCT Data, Aricoma expands its SAP services portfolio to more than 220 professionals, enabling it to offer solutions across industries and expand into new markets

Digital twins in manufacturing

Why are manufacturers looking to create and leverage digital twins? And how can you use them for highly efficient predictive maintenance? Find out in the recording of the DataSentics webinar.

Artificial intelligence part of the learning experience

AI should be introduced into the school curriculum, according to Eva Nečasová of AI For Kids. At what age should children start learning about AI? Listen on ČRo.

AI and creativity

On the occasion of a workshop on the use of AI in schools, Anna Štádlerová from Aignos explained how AI works and how to use it correctly and creatively. Michal Kučerák stressed the need to teach children to modify AI results. More Deník N.

 

🎭 Events we’re excited about

– 8-9 June – Robotics Day

– June 12 – Google Cloud Summit Czech Republic 

– June 12 – ELLIS Workshop on 3D Computer Vision and Robotics

– June 13 – Data Punkers 12: Tableau Pulse 

– 13 June – AI in Industry (Brno)

– 13 June – Artificial Intelligence in Society: Policy and Societal Impact

– 14 June – Transforming AI in Education and Research

– 17 June – Festival of Creative Bureaucracy 2024 – Fourth edition of the festival for better public administration in Czechia

– 17 June – Pride Business Forum

– 17 June – AI Horizons: AI and Religion

– 18-19 June – Digital Czech Republic 2024

– 19 June – How AI Helps Traffic Flow and Makes Parking Smart in Prague

– 20-22 June – AI Summer School – A hands-on workshop focused on AI methods with a bit of math, statistics and Python programming. (Brno)

– June 25 – AI Call Insights 2024: Breakthrough Methods in AI Call Evaluation

– June 25 – KPMG Business Breakfast – Responsible AI: AI and Society

– June 26 – I’d blush if I could: A gender perspective on (embodied) AI (online)

– 29 June – Technology and the long-term future of humanity

– July 2 – Truesdays – candid meetups about tech & business

 

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

🧩 Stuff that interests us

Czech companies still grasping the use of AI

More than half of Czech companies are only beginning to explore the potential of artificial intelligence. Even those already utilizing AI often lack a clear strategy, according to a survey of 190 companies conducted by the ICT Union, the Confederation of Industry and Transport, and the Chamber of Commerce.

AI:CAST

Podcast series in cooperation with the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic and Digital Czech Republic presents the AI Act, the European regulation on artificial intelligence. Lawyers Štěpánka Havlíková and Anna Stárková explain what the AI Act regulates, the obligations it brings, who will be affected, and how it supports innovation.

Picture to sound in smart glasses

According to ČT, computer science students from the Secondary School of Industry in Žďár nad Sázavou have invented smart glasses that use AI to convert images into sound for the visually impaired.

📢 Community calls

Hack your way to a job at Aricoma!

Aricoma is launching a hacking competition to recruit new members for their cybersecurity team. Earn points by completing 15 individual challenges and secure your spot in an interview. Find the rules and challenges here.

Human-aligned AI Summer School

The fourth Human-aligned AI Summer School, held in Prague from 17 to 20 July, will focus on AI alignment research. It targets researchers and students interested in the field, covering topics like aligning large language models and evaluating AI systems. The program includes lectures, workshops, and networking opportunities. Applications are open, with scholarships available.

💼 Open job positions

Artificial Intelligence Center FEE CTU

CIIRC

Apify

ententee

Datamole

DNAi

MAMA AI

Qminers

Recombee

Rossum

Aricoma

KPMG

Technologická gramotnost

Valeo