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The Government allocates 1.5 billion to promote national artificial intelligence | Technology

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Today the Council of Ministers approved the Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2024, the document that orders actions in this area for 2024 and 2025. The plan will be endowed with 1,500 million euros, coming mainly from the recovery plan and the Addendum, which They join another 600 million already deployed under the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (ENIA) 2020. In total, 2.1 billion to promote a technology that the Executive considers critical for the development of Spain. “Artificial intelligence (AI) offers a great opportunity for economic transformation. We need to reinforce and accelerate its deployment in Spain,” Government sources said yesterday in a meeting with journalists. “This is a clear commitment by the Government of Spain to transparent and ethical AI,” said the Minister of Digital Transformation and Public Function, José Luis Escrivá, at the press conference after the Council of Ministers.

Among the actions contemplated in this plan are the investment of 90 million euros in MareNostrum 5 of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), the supercomputer with the largest data storage capacity in Europe and the third in maximum performance (the other two are in Finland and Italy). The objective is to update it with new semiconductors and prepare the deployment of a new version of the supercomputer, the MareNostrum Plus. The Government will also commit to using 20% ​​of the centre’s capacities, normally focused on research, in industrial activities, and to reinforce the Spanish supercomputing network.

Moncloa also plans to approve before the end of the year a Royal Decree on sustainable Data Processing Centers that regulates these infrastructures, key for digital development and artificial intelligence, although very intensive in electricity and water (to cool the machines). The increase in demand for this type of installations has meant that the EU is already requiring minimum energy efficiency and water consumption standards, included in the 2023 Energy Efficiency Directive.

“We will probably go beyond European regulations in terms of the energy efficiency and water consumption requirements that we set,” say sources from the Ministry of Digital Transformation, who are working with the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge on the royal decree. The regulations will also order the development of these infrastructures in the territory and will expedite the procedures to be able to build them. “We need more data centers to support the digitalization of the country. “Spain wants to lead the development of sustainable data centers,” state government sources.

Towards a ChatGPT in Spanish

Another priority of the Ministry headed by José Luis Escrivá is to have the great Spanish language model, Alia, operational by September, also trained in Catalan, Galician, Valencian and Basque. The strategy dedicates 10 million euros to it and plans to expand the linguistic corpus from which this foundational model will be nourished, reaching a minimum of four billion words. It is being fed with all types of official documents, from session diaries of the Congress of Deputies to repositories of scientific journals in Spanish.

The Ministry contemplates the development of models with up to 175 billion parameters, the same ones used by the first version of ChatGPT. The Ministry of Digital Transformation and Public Function is already working with the Ministry of Culture to find the formula that guarantees the protection of the copyright of the texts used in this system. The goal is for the foundational model to be transparent and open, characteristics not shared by, for example, ChatGPT.

“The great attraction of Alia will be its openness and that it will have a much larger corpus in Spanish and co-official languages ​​than any other model,” Ministry sources maintain. “We want to promote our own model so that it becomes a reference in transparency and openness,” Escrivá said during the press conference after the Council of Ministers. At least 20% of the total texts you train with will correspond to languages ​​spoken in Spain, while ChatGPT and its competitors do not reach 5% in Spanish. This will make its reliability higher for Spanish speakers, while typical problems such as biases will be corrected (the use of the masculine and feminine gender is different in Spanish compared to English, for example).

Moncloa’s intention is to promote Alia when it is operational so that it can be used in the Administration, but also in the private sector, which will be able to use the model for free.

Talent development and business promotion

Another pillar of the strategy has to do with promoting talent in artificial intelligence. The Government will allocate 760 million to scholarships in AI, in the development of specific training projects around this technology, in creating new specialties for FP and in the training of Administration personnel.

The use of AI will also be promoted in the public sector, applying it to improve the provision of services, and in the private sector. Special emphasis will be placed on SMEs, offering a program to advise on the adoption of AI (Kit Consulting, endowed with up to 300 million euros) and adding AI products to the Digital Kit (up to 350 million will be allocated to this). Up to 400 million will also be invested in the Next Tech fund to facilitate access to financing for companies that develop AI solutions.

The Government also plans to approve a cybersecurity law throughout the year, which establishes a clear framework to develop this area, and the entry into operation of the Spanish AI Supervision Agency (Aesia), the national body required by the Regulation. European Union to oversee the responsible and ethical deployment of this technology.

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