Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to change our society in a big way and every country wants to ensure that it happens in a responsible manner. The Netherlands is no different and it has taken an extraordinary amount of effort to ensure responsible AI is being built for society. These efforts are paying off as evident from the Netherlands rise to become the 8th major nation on the Global AI Index.
In an effort to further the progress made with AI, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland, RVO) is funding twelve companies that are building human-centric AI solutions. For the uninitiated, the RVO is an executive body of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (Ministerie van Economische Zaken en Klimaat, EZK) and is responsible for implementing central government policies that enable an excellent business climate.
While exact amounts are not fully disclosed, the project is divided into two phases. In this first research phase, each company could apply for funding up to 20.000 euro with a maximum of 200.000 euro in total. In the next phase there is an additional 200.000 available for the development of the actual prototypes.
Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence: What you need to know
The Dutch AI Coalition (NLAIC) has written a manifesto for human-oriented Artificial Intelligence based on Europe’s ‘framework for Trustworthy AI’. The framework promotes legal norms and ethical values of the society being central to the development of AI applications. AI has far-reaching benefits in this society and can leave a positive impact but it also comes with its own downside, like any other technology.
The manifesto basically looks at those downsides and offers guidelines on how those can be mitigated while developing AI solutions. From building AI algorithms without any bias to making sure that people are able to see how AI systems work, the NLAIC’s manifesto offers guidelines. In a nutshell, the manifesto is designed in pursuit of ‘responsible AI’.
The manifesto outlines how the Netherlands can become a core player in the European AI ecosystem. It argues how Dutch research in the field of Socially Responsible Innovation (SRI) and the ethics of technology can form the basis for creating responsible AI solutions. With the goal of creating responsible AI solutions for the Dutch society, the RVO announced SBIR (‘Small Business Innovation Research’) as a phased innovation competition.
The SBIR involves a total of three phases for a specific challenge. The first phase is all about the feasibility of a solution while the second phase is commissioning the concept into a developed product. The third phase sees the developed product being introduced to the market. For the human-centred artificial intelligence for the public sector, the RVO has selected twelve companies that will implement their projects between December 2021 and September 2023.
Here is everything you need to know about these companies and their human-centred artificial intelligence projects.
The fundamental nature of an AI solution is to help businesses and users improve their decision making. Councyl makes decision support possible for organisations with its scientifically proven solution that is not dependent on big data and yet produces fully transparent results. Councyl makes a decision support system that could be foundational for modern AI-fuelled organisations.
It supports trade-offs, judgement and actions within an organisation and uses expert data for its self learning decision support system. It uses questionnaire, modelling, validation and application as the four pillars for its self-learning decision support system. In other words, the service provides advice on a specific complex decision being made repetitively within your organisation. With time being of the essence, Councyl’s solution could replace the humans we rely on for support.
The company d-centralize is all about building platforms that can have a major impact on society and can be scaled using the latest technology. The startup was founded by Kees van den Broek in 2006 with the mission of providing high end software solutions to new business ventures. The idea of solving problems is deeply embedded within d-centralize.
The title of its project is LOQUI: participation by speech and it is understandable considering speech is a major focus for the startup. It has created a scalable backend at ITSLanguage where users can send spoken audio to the cloud for analysis or text recognition. The platform supports modern HTML5 Web Audio speech recording capability allowing its educational partners to quickly integrate with their solutions.
Data is the biggest asset for any company today and Datastreams helps companies build high-quality data and compliant data operations. It offers an intelligent automation and collaboration platform for businesses to share their trustworthy data in a secure and compliant way. In other words, the startup allows companies to extract maximum value from the data without compromising on digital regulations, data governance or privacy standards.
Its Certified Datastreams platform streamlines and simplifies data-driven business processes using intelligent automation. The flow-based Datastreams platform allows businesses to capture, share and manage their data within and between organisations. Built upon a core Data Processing Unit (DPU), the platform puts data privacy, security and compliance at the forefront.
Deepfakes could be the biggest menace for our society and DuckDuckGoose is on a mission to detect them. Today, deepfakes have come so far that there is a dedicated deepfake account of actor Tom Cruise. DuckDuckGoose is using advances in AI and computer vision to realise a “digital environment where we can still believe what we perceive ”.
In other words, it is building “Explainable AI for deepfake detection” and its work could be central to our society. It offers 100 per cent automated deepfake detection using DeepDetector where its explainable AI detects deepfake pictures and videos with real-time speed. It also offers a browser plug-in to detect deepfakes.
ServiceHeroes is an IT specialist focused on helping businesses optimise their processes and control their proliferation. When businesses become large, they often find it difficult to control the expansion of their systems. With its ServiceHighway platform, ServiceHeroes makes it possible for large organisations to support their business in a smart and efficient way.
The Service Highways allows for organisations to enable smart work for their employees. It does so by linking all the systems, optimising the processes and implementing the change in a modern application. Its multi-device platform is capable of working across different domains and domain-specific systems.
EDIA is an AI-focussed education startup that uses machine learning and natural language processing to automatically curate authentic texts for online vocabulary training. It currently offers an AI engine created with education publishers in mind that automates metadata-tagging so content managers can easily search, curate, reuse and create smart content.
For the SBIR competition, it introduced a solution called “Readable texts for citizens with a language deficiency”. The platform builds on the same fundamentals of machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) and aims to create readable texts for those with a language deficiency. With learning becoming modular, EDIA’s AI tool can make education accessible to a lot of users.
Zoorobotics is an AI software company that offers software based on language technology for the Fintech, Legaltech and Healthcare industries. It is one of the main developers of semantic software applications in Europe and is an expert in Natural Language Processing, Computational Linguistics, and Artificial Intelligence technologies.
It is working on an AI-powered pronunciation predictor as part of its RVO project that can help non-native speakers ace their pronunciation. For the platform, Zoorobotics borrows from its expertise in NLP and AI technologies, and also from projects such as Form Reader, Anonymization, DocChain to name a few.
Lucidminds is a research-oriented startup that offers solutions powered by agent-based models and simulations. It uses AI to analyse and incorporate socio-behavioural patterns and dynamics into its designs. The startup offers a solution that combines machine learning and simulation to augment intelligence and not replace it.
Some of the solutions offered by Lucidminds include agent-based modelling and simulation, smart contract design, digital twin modelling, social network analysis, explainable algorithm design and data infrastructure and pipelines. One of its recent works is called Trees AI that uses an open-source platform to enable city actors to value and invest in urban nature at scale.
Mobile Water is a digital-first startup that aims to streamline digital interaction for consumers. It offers an AI platform called Nova One that allows for digital experiences that touch and listen. It offers conversational AI platforms in the form of chatbots and messaging services such as messaging gateway, incident manager, bulk manager to name a few.
The startup also offers UX management service but is popular for rich communication services, chatbots and messaging gateway. Messaging is an important tool for companies and Mobile Water takes an approach that is almost equivalent to gamification. It is an ideal partner for companies looking to enable SMS, RCS solutions in their products.
Y. Digital B.V. is an AI and data science company that helps companies bring their ideas to life in a result-driven manner. It offers digital solutions focussed on engagement, compliance, operations and commerce. The company also offers services that help businesses get a headstart with their ideas.
The A.I. Playbook service is all about offering clear and proven methods to design and develop an idea whereas the Y-Lab acts as a design studio for co-creation and prototyping-as-a-service for customers. The interesting aspect of Y. Digital is its sustainable approach to realise these goals and hence is a distinguished winner of RVO’s SBIR challenge.
Vicarious Perception Technologies
Vicarious Perception Technologies (in short VicarVision) is focused on a specialized branch of AI called computer vision. It offers solutions that help machines perceive the world around them though camera data. The algorithms can extract meaningful interpretations from a stream of pixels recorded by a camera. Their primary solution is FaceReader, a tool to automatically analyse facial expressions.
The technology supported by VicarVision includes reading faces and people analytics. While its FaceReader is a popular solution in academia, VicarVision also offers custom development of its solutions in a wide range of areas.
2Tango was founded by Tjerk Feitsma and Omotola Bolarin alongside the Neurodiversity Foundation. It aims to upgrade the idea of “being us together” with a move towards a neuro inclusive society that embraces all types of minds. The startup says it wants to optimise “being your true self with another person”.
It plans to achieve its goal by building the optimal solution for verbal or nonverbal translation between individuals, families and teams. It plans to provide its tool to 10,000 users or 2,500 connected families in the Netherlands. After reaching that user base, it plans to scale up the tools and provide 10 million with the free and paid subscription service. The success of 2Tango B.V. will pave the way for a society open to embrace AI at its best.