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Portuguese consortium of startups and research centres invests €78M in Responsible AI

Portuguese consortium of startups and research centres invests €78M in Responsible AI
Forbes Portugal · 10 Nov 2022
Startups and research centres create, under the PRR, the world's largest consortium in Responsible AI. The initiative is led by the Portuguese Unbabel that will create more than 210 jobs.

The Responsive Artificial Intelligence (AI) consortium led by Unbabel, a Portuguese AI-based platform for Language Operations (LangOps), announces today, during Web Summit, that it will invest €78 million under the Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan, with the aim of positioning Portugal as a global leader in technologies, principles and regulation in Responsive AI.

The consortium is expected to have an impact on the Portuguese economy of €250 million in exports by 2030, resulting from the development of 21 new AI products. In addition, it will create more than 210 highly qualified jobs and award 132 advanced academic degrees, namely masters and PhDs.

Who makes up the consortium?

The consortium, which has come together to enforce these objectives, is made up of eleven startups (Unbabel, Feedzai, Sword Health, Apres, Automaise, Emotai, NeuralShift, Priberam, Visor. ai, YData and YooniK), including two unicorns, eight research centres in Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra (Fundação Champalimaud, CISUC, FEUP, Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, INESC-ID, IST, IST-ID/ISR and IT), a law firm (Vieira de Almeida) and also five industry leaders in Life Sciences, Tourism and Retail (BIAL, Centro Hospitalar de São João, Luz Saúde, Grupo Pestana and Sonae).

Paulo Dimas, Vice President of Innovation at Unbabel, stresses that "we are creating what is the largest consortium of Responsible Artificial Intelligence in the world. In it, we will develop a virtuous circle between startups and advanced research centres, creating the next generation AI products and positioning Portugal at the global forefront of Artificial Intelligence. It was a huge privilege for us to be able to lead this consortium where we are joined by some of the brightest minds in Portugal inventing the future of Artificial Intelligence."

"We will develop a virtuous circle between startups and advanced research centres, creating the next generation AI products," points out Paulo Dimas, vice president of innovation at Unbabel.

Pedro Bizarro, Co-founder and Chief Science Officer of Feedzai, adds that "the consortium in Responsible Artificial Intelligence represents a unique level of collaboration at national and international level: there are eleven startups, one law firm, eight research centres and five industrial partners that have come together to collaboratively develop new forms of more responsible artificial intelligence, i.e. AI that is less biased, more explainable, more efficient and environmentally friendly. With a budget for training more than 132 masters and PhDs, and with application and impact in various industries, this is a unique project worldwide and one that fills me with pride to participate in."

António Portela, CEO of BIAL, considers that "the consortium will allow BIAL to bring its challenges in Artificial Intelligence to a universe of startups and advanced research centres, creating unique synergies that will allow us to compete globally in AI, accelerating the discovery and development of new medicines".

At the heart of this investment is the concept of Responsible AI, a term that reflects the development of fair AI systems that reduce bias and the negative impact of technology for discriminated groups, the heads of this organisation explain.

"Responsible AI technologies will also make it possible to solve challenges hitherto impossible for AI given the risks involved. An example is the automatic translation of clinical content where a translation error can put human lives at risk. Solving these challenges will contribute, for example, to accelerate clinical trials of a vaccine allowing it to reach the market earlier. This will be one of the 21 innovative AI products that will be developed by the consortium", adds the Responsible AI Consortium explanation.