“Wanted: companies in the Northern Netherlands that have been helped by the application of artificial, or artificial intelligence (AI). The AI Hub North Netherlands is poised to help them get started.
Society is already brimming with AI: smartphones, cars, washing machines – they are all already equipped with the technology and software that take over human thinking and actions, at least in part.
Just getting started
However, the advance of artificial intelligence has only just begun. With the digitization of society, more and more data are becoming available for applications. The AI Hub North Netherlands is there to drive responsible applications to businesses in Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe. How the network organization does that?
Yvonne Kooi, program manager: ,,Demand has to come from the market. We want to know from companies what problems they encounter. When they come to us with that, we investigate whether they can be solved with AI.”
More than three years ago, the so-called Dutch AI Coalition (NL AIC) was established. Goal: A pioneering role for the Netherlands in both knowledge and application of AI. This organization now has a “hub” in seven regions that focuses on sectors strongly represented there.
Established in late 2021, the AI Hub North Netherlands presented itself to SMEs at a sold-out Forum in Groningen in October. Meanwhile, the network organization has begun follow-up meetings around the themes of particular interest in the North: agriculture, industry, health, energy, maritime, safety and mobility. The sessions should initiate the formation of working groups formed from representatives of companies and knowledge institutions.
The hub consists of a modest team of eight part-time employees (totaling 3.5 FTEs) working out of Bytesnet’s building on the Zernike Campus in Groningen. Kooi, who was previously director of Royal Goedewaagen (pottery) in Nieuw-Buinen: ,,They are all business people who speak the language of entrepreneurs. They will work in the working groups to see what we can do for each other. That should lead to some kind of common program. We do this very pragmatically. We start with the small topics. Eventually, you come up with bigger issues together. Then you get projects that you might be able to get grants for.”
Mirjam de Vreden, in charge of communications at the AI Hub: “Of course, there doesn’t always have to be a subsidy involved. Companies that can pay for their own innovations can also simply use our network and the ‘know-how’ in it.”
Engines and machinery
The possibilities of AI are almost limitless. A well-known example is that of “predictive maintenance,” software that indicates exactly when, for example, engines and machinery need maintenance. It prevents damage and equipment failure and makes maintenance and replacement costs predictable. ‘Predictive diagnostics’ is the variant that enables accelerated diagnosis in healthcare.
‘Human capital’ is also high on the agenda, says Kooi. “We obviously need to make sure that the companies working with AI can also get workers who are trained to do so.”
In all forms of training, much attention must be paid to people-centeredness and proper application, Kooi and De Vreden stress. Because in addition to comfort, AI also has the risk of abuse. “Think of the surcharge affair,” De Vreden said. The Inland Revenue had algorithms used to detect people with dual passports because they would have a propensity to commit fraud in particular.
Cage: “AI also has something scary for many people.” With the knowledge of the technology therefore also come the rules that go with proper application, enshrined in the acronym ELSA, which stands for: Ethical, Legal and Societal Aspects. Soon, the EU will lay down rules to ensure proper use. Kooi: ,,Whether you are a physician, farmer or an industrial company, you come into contact with the ethical side regardless.”
Exhibitions, workshops and debate
Residents of Groningen and Drenthe will have the opportunity to learn more about AI next month. The Royal Libraries and the NL AIC are touring libraries for a year of exhibitions, workshops and debates on the theme. This so-called AI Parade does from Feb. 3 to 26 Forum Groningen (branches Nieuwe Markt and Haren) and from February 1 to 28 De Nieuwe Kolk in Assen.”
Article DvhN | 26.01.2023 | Written by John Geijp
Business can benefit from artificial intelligence. The Al-hub Northern Netherlands team helps with that.
We regularly get the question “Why are you involved in AgriFood, Industry, Energy, Health, Built Environment, Maritime, Logistics and Culture & Media? There are ecosystems and organizations enough for that anyway. Yes, that that is true. The reason we bundle them together is that all of these sectors share some common denominators. One is that they act in the same chain and/or with each other in 1 and the same environment. In particular, the added value of AI and the AI Hub team lies in the cross-sectoral horizontal themes; Data Sharing, Human-centered approach to AI such as the ELSA Labs (Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects of AI), Research & Innovations and the Start-up/Scale-ups already applying the future skills of AI in their solutions. Solutions used in one sector could also lend themselves very well as solutions in another sector.
In addition to being a building, a factory is a place with an energy component, with machinery, with planning & computer systems, and in addition, it is connected to its environment by logistical components. All these aspects are important to unleash innovations on.
We take this horizontal approach as a team, looking across sectors, working in and with multiple sectors on tomorrow’s solutions. Within our team is the expertise to work with this in small and large partnerships.
To all AI experts and entrepreneurs who want to get started with AI, send us a Whatsapp or send an email!