For every 10,000 employees in the Czech Republic, there are 101 robots. This measurement, used in a recent HSBC study, places the Central European state above the world average, which lies at 74 robots. However, in the country’s neighbour Slovakia the robot population average is higher by a third. The study also claims that due to its ageing population study the Czech Republic will need to continue increasing the share of robots in its economy.
A team of students from the Czech Technical University in Prague have placed second in the prestigious Alexa Prize contest, organised by the US giant Amazon. The aim of the competition is to develop artificial intelligence for Amazon Alexa, capable of chatting with people on popular topics such as movies, sports or music. Along with the prize, the Czech team also picked up a financial award of 100,000 US dollars.
A new “employee” of Prague’s Václav Havel Airport called Pepper is now roaming Terminal 2 and offering both directions and entertainment. He is the result of the airport’s ongoing adoption of new technologies through its PRGAirportLab initiative and can be seen as offering a taster of what is yet to come.
On Wednesday, the Czech Technical University held a press conference as well as a motor show, presenting both the achievemnts of its Formula Student race teams as well as the cars themselves. The university has been part of the worldwide competition for nearly ten years and its race teams are made up of some of its most successful students. I went to the university in order to find out more about the teams and their vehicles.
Artificial intelligence is sometimes referred to as the new oil and is seen as one of the main drivers of economic growth in the decades going forward. For the Czech Republic, the most industrialised of all European Union countries, there are clearly a lot of challenges as one of the main elements of the so-called AI revolution will be the increased use of robots and machines effectively learning on the job and from each other.
This Wednesday saw a conference in Prague called I, Robot, (Já, robot) bringing together researchers in both the public and private spheres to debate advances in robotics and artificial intelligence. One of the participants was Olga Afanasyeva, the COO of the Prague-based start-up GoodAI, which has been profiled by publications like The Economist, Forbes and also Radio Prague. Much of the discussion focussed on the future “just around the corner” or already here.
Earlier this year, the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee caused something of a stir with a resolution aiming to grant robots legal status in order to hold them ‘responsible for acts or omissions’. The move caught some off guard in what is quite complex or even uncharted legal territory. Alžběta Krausová, a well-known researcher at the Institute for State and Law at the Czech Academy of Sciences specialising in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence is one who has followed the conversation closely as well as added to it. She
A new Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics was ceremonially opened at the Czech Technical University in Prague’s Dejvice district on Tuesday. The teaching and research centre cost around CZK 1.5 billion and is intended to support the digitisation of Czech industry, a stated priority of the government. President Miloš Zeman and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka attended the opening.
Academia Film Olomouc is one of the longest running film festivals in the Czech Republic. What is unique is that this festival, now in its 52nd year, focusses largely on science documentary films. The Future is Now is this year’s motto and it won’t be a surprise that films being screened examine both the promises but also potential risks in fields moving rapidly forward, such as robotics, bioengineering, nanotechnology and of course the big one - artificial intelligence.
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