Dutch govt presents vision for GenAI; identifies these 4 principles for responsible AI development

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The Dutch government, on Thursday, January 18, took a significant step forward in artificial intelligence (AI) by presenting its vision of generative AI.

This vision acknowledges the urgent need to address the opportunities and challenges posed by this disruptive yet promising technology.

The vision ties in with a series of investments of millions of euros already made by research institutions, private enterprises, and the government, all aimed at bringing the Netherlands more in line with the lightning-paced developments in artificial intelligence, says the Dutch government.

Minister for Digitalisation Alexandra van Huffelen, says, “We wish to retain the values and prosperity of the Netherlands. According to figures from the IMF, in developed economies, up to sixty per cent of jobs could be affected by AI. We are unwilling to leave the future socioeconomic security of the Netherlands exclusively in the hands of major tech companies. What is also needed is a government ambition and vision based on public values and our objectives: ensuring that everyone can participate in the digital era, be confident in the digital world and everyone has control over their digital life. By stating our principles now, we will maintain control in the future.” 

The Dutch government’s ambitions

The Dutch government recognises the need to stay at the forefront of AI innovation and not remain on the sidelines. 

Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Micky Adriaansens continues, “The Netherlands mustn’t remain stuck on the sidelines when it comes to artificial intelligence. In particular, generative AI is increasingly developing into one of the most defining technologies of our time, both in everyday life and for example for application in machines and more efficient industrial systems. Asia and the US have taken the lead and Europe will have to catch up. Only if we also invest more in AI innovations will we be in a position to compete and to set the course for the appropriate and promising development of this technology, in both our society and our economy.”

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To ensure responsible development and use of generative AI in the Netherlands, the Dutch government is presenting six action lines in this vision to maintain control over the technology’s impact.

  • The Social and Economic Council (SER) will assess the impact of AI on labor productivity and the quantity and quality of work.
  • Public campaigns will educate individuals on protecting their data against the training of generative AI models.
  • An investigation is underway to establish a secure and usable public national AI test facility.
  • AINEd InnovatieLabs will launch public-private partnerships to promote responsible generative AI applications.
  • The government aims to implement responsible generative AI applications in specific government services.
  • A National AI validation team will be established to assess available AI applications for non-discrimination.

The Dutch government will also seek legislative advice on the legal framework and ensure strict supervision of AI, including enforcement measures where necessary.

The development of the open language model GPT-NL in November aimed to promote the development of (open) Dutch and European large language models in line with public values.

Against this background, GPT-NL will receive funding to the tune of €13.5M from the first funding round for Facilities for Applied Research (Faciliteiten Telecast Onderzoek – FTO) from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. 

In addition, the National Growth Fund will be providing €204.5M to the AINEd programme, for knowledge, innovation, and the application of Dutch AI (systems).

Risks and challenges

While generative AI technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we receive information, there are also concerns about the potential risks that come with it, says the government. 

For example, “it could hurt our democracy and the rule of law if the information is inaccurate. Additionally, generative AI could lead to market abuse due to the acceleration of existing dynamism in digital markets,” says the government. 

According to the government, generative AI could lead to job displacement and the embedding of prejudice and selectivity in systems due to training data and model parameters. 

The Netherlands’ dependence on non-European language models may negatively affect its innovative position and long-term earning capacity.

Principles guiding the vision

The Dutch government has outlined four policy principles to guide the development and application of generative AI in the Netherlands. Generative AI in the Netherlands:

  • Must be developed and applied safely.
  • Must be developed and applied in a fair and equitable manner
  • Must be at the service of human well-being and human autonomy
  • Must contribute to sustainability and our continued prosperity

Minister for Education, Culture, and Science Robbert Dijkgraaf explains, “To make full use of the opportunities offered by generative AI, we must aim for greater knowledge and more skills. The essence is to develop and retain AI talent, to allow us to develop forms of generative AI that satisfy the standards and values of Europe. Therein lies the added value for Europe’s digital open strategic autonomy. We are also considering investments in large-scale scientific and technological infrastructure, such as supercomputers and computing power, both at the national and EU level. This will enable us to remain competitive in the field of LLMs and other forms of generative AI.”

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Vigneshwar Ravichandran

Vigneshwar has been a News Reporter at Silicon Canals since 2018. A seasoned technology journalist with almost a decade of experience, he covers the European startup ecosystem, from AI and Web3 to clean energy and health tech. Previously, he was a content producer and consumer product reviewer for leading Indian digital media, including NDTV, GizBot, and FoneArena. He graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Electronics and Instrumentation in Chennai and a Diploma in Broadcasting Journalism in New Delhi.

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