Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AI4EU (A European AI On Demand Platform and Ecosystem)
Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2020-06-30
Ecosystem development and platform notoriety are increasing. The community services are active, registered users (2650 at the end of August), and AI resources (end August 60 assets into the platform) are growing steadily. Registered organizations are reaching one hundred, with numerous groups and discussions. An editorial board has been created to supervise informational content publication. Web Cafés are occurring weekly Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook (a recent choice) are feed on an almost daily basis. We have also refined our event strategy for greater efficiency. AI4EU events have been a success.
Work toward platform sustainability has been started with the support of the Industrial board and an ongoing survey to define the AI4EU Platform business model. Work to create the AI4EU Foundation begun and the legal structure will be created by December 2020.
The Ethics observatory is now fully operational, with already more than ninety reference articles published. A dedicated Gender Committee has been created under the supervision of WAI (Women in AI). Regarding WP6, the vision developed for the pilots is that they are instrumental in demonstrating the various functions of the platform, and work is progressing in this way. In WP7, 18 new AI techniques have been developed for specific aspects of human-centred AI. All of them have been demonstrated on test-cases inspired by the AI4EU pilots. More than 40 assets have been published in the AI repository concerning these techniques. 52 scientific papers were published.
A new and more effective open calls strategy has been defined. The first Open Call will be launched in September. An initial vision of the Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda was published in June 2019. A second document was delivered in July 2020, targeting the platform's future.
1) AI4EU On-Demand Platform is existing, and the community now acknowledges the Platform. This was not obvious at the outset of the project. In 18 months, we have created the foundation of “a European AI Factory Floor” where the community will find people, resources, assets, AI experiment functionality. And other features in the future, with the support of the associated projects (ICT 48, 49,…). Multiple limitations can still be pointed out but the consortium is entirely focused on delivering the promised targeted TRL8 platform. It is also very difficult to evaluate this objective globally at M18. For instance, regarding AI4EU experiments, it is worth mentioning that big players (Google, Amazon, H2O.ai...) spent more than four years to reach TRL8. An alpha version of the Acumos subsystem is already functional in the platform. We are now working on an enhanced end-user experience (Single Sign-on) and to populate this environment.
2) We believe the trustworthy AI approach is an asset. The richness of the platform is to connect different worlds, such as ethics, industry, and research. It’s what we have started with WP5,6,7,8 activities and cross-collaboration. By setting-up eight pilots, developing a new open call model, we aim to showcase the ability of the platform to bring an ecosystem and the AI4EU platform functionalities to develop AI solutions.
3) Significant progress has also been achieved for the community. By creating dedicated boards addressing specific themes such as education, gender... we have laid the foundation for lively groups working on strategic issues. The creation of an Architectural Board and a High-Level Advisory board, aiming to gather ICT 48 and 49 winning projects views about the platform development is a first of its kind.
4) We have engaged the next steps for the AI4EU On-Demand Platform by building a sustainability plan, embedded in a set of principles that can make the platform unique. We believe the platform is a common digital good and should be owned by the Community and not by vested interests. A critical stake is to make this vision alive by creating the AI4EU Foundation and/or association, opening the project developments, and finding a compelling business model that can sustain our vision.
5) AI4EU On-Demand Platform is today a two-sided platform. The first dimension is the community and social part. The second is the AI development side, with AI resources and experiments. We are convinced that both are needed and provide originality to the AI4EU On-Demand Platform. With a third dimension, we will strive to build: the openness, trustworthy AI, and the common digital goods the platform should embody
We are at a tipping point. We will reorganize the project to dedicate more resources to the development of the platform, to achieve the features foreseen (AI4EU experiments as a top priority), to connect with other projects, and enhance the user experience. Simultaneously we have to promote the platform widely to the community and the end-users to foster its adoption.