In the wake of the October 2018 founding of Hungary’s AI Coalition, a partnership between state agencies, leading IT businesses, and universities, Hungary is working towards drafting a comprehensive AI strategy for the future, which industry leaders hope will establish this country as an AI innovator.
Hungary's decision to formulate a national vision for AI comes as Brussels works to develop an EU-wide AI strategy in response to US and Chinese dominance in this sector.
The Hungarian AI Coalition was formally created on October 9 under the guidance of Laszlo Palkovics, Hungary's Ministry of Innovation and Technology, and includes up to 70 academic research centres, businesses, and state offices with interests in the future of AI.
Underscoring the global nature of AI research and the opportunities to be had, national business chambers such as the American Chamber of Commerce Hungary and international law firms such as CMS are founding members of the coalition, which according to one signatory is focussed on creating “a framework for cooperation in order to bring Hungary to the forefront of Europe in the field of this technology.”
In addition to formulating a national strategy, the Coalition is studying the social and economic effects of AI on society as this technology becomes increasingly more important in the global market.
Clearly, the role of AI in marketing, politics, and labour are hot-button issues for business and government leaders around the world. During a hearing in the European Parliament, one academic expert told lawmakers: “… How we build advanced AI will be the defining development of the 21st Century.”
The founding of the Hungarian coalition comes after the European-wide AI initiative, AI4EU, won a EUR 20 million tender in August to "build a comprehensive European AI-on-demand platform to lower barriers to innovation, to boost technology transfer and catalyse the growth of start-ups and SMEs ..." Two Hungarian universities — Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) and Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) — are part of the 80-member consortium developing this initiative.
As further proof of Hungary's commitment to AI research, on April 2018 the Hungarian government signed the EU Declaration on Artificial Intelligence, a cooperation agreement among 24 member states for research, implementation, and regulation of AI with the ultimate aim of increasing the EU’s global competitiveness in this sector.
In the wake of these initiatives, industry leaders in Hungary see the newly created AI Coalition as a permanent forum for cross-sector cooperation in research and development, particularly now that the EU is in the final stages of formulating a continent-wide AI strategy that could be announced before the end of 2018.