Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a powerful tool in our efforts to overcome serious economic and societal issues and retain and improve our competitive position in the international arena. AI applications are already being used for a range of different purposes: giving more accurate medical diagnosis and healthcare, for example, and saving energy, reducing the use of pesticides, providing personalised education, fighting crime effectively, but also reducing the cost of maintaining roads, railways and bridges, building lasting customer relations and developing self-steering robots, cars and drones. As a key enabling technology, AI will become more and more important for our prosperity and our well-being during the years ahead.
Only by proactively utilising AI can the Netherlands play a part in determining how AI will be used in the face of societal and economic challenges, and draw benefits from that use. With this in mind, in October 2019 the Netherlands AI Coalition (NL AIC) was set up at the initiative of employers’ organisation VNO-NCW, SME organisation MKB-Nederland, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, TNO, Seedlink, Philips, Ahold Delhaize, IBM and Topsector ICT. The ambition is for the Netherlands to gain a position at the forefront of AI expertise and applications. This public-private partnership has been joined by more than 500 organisations since it was first set up.
NL AIC is the ideal catalyst for AI applications in the Netherlands. Government agencies, companies, educational and research institutions and social organisations are all working to accelerate the pace of AI developments and bring together separate AI initiatives. One of the chief goals is to realise impactful AI innovations in at least ten sectors of the economy and society within three years’ time. For AI to become properly embedded, it will require an integrated approach with a high level of engagement from the public sector and everyone else involved. Through close partnerships and knowledge exchanges, the Netherlands can optimise its use of AI to create innovative solutions to realise greater prosperity and well-being.