February 27, 2023
At a Glance
- Spanish AI Secretary Carme Artigas wants the country to lead in training Spanish-focused large language models.
- Artigas unveiled plans for Spain to build Southern Europe’s first quantum computer.
Spain wants to be the leading nation for training Spanish-large language models, according to the country’s minister responsible for AI and digitization.
Speaking at Mobile World Congress 2023, Secretary Carme Artigas noted that AI models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT are trained mostly in English, leaving non-English speaking users out of the loop.
“We have 600 million Spanish speakers in the world and Spain is determined to lead the development of AI solutions and language models in Spanish,” Artigas said.
While ChatGPT can generate responses in over 50 languages, including French, Chinese and Russian, as well as Spanish, it is primarily designed for English text. ChatGPT’s language performance depends on the complexity of its command of the language.
Artigas said ChatGPT’s answers are different in Spanish than English.
Artigas said that AI is an important focus of the Spanish government because it impacts both the economy and industry, as well as society.
She said that OpenAI’s viral chatbot has made people realize that AI can be democratized and that the technology is here.
However, Artigas, who co-founded the AI company Synergic Partners, spoke of ChatGPT’s limitations as a tool, and that AI needs to be built responsibly to be effective.
“We need to have a reliable AI that’s safe for humans. We need to have explainable AI. We need to have a fair AI which doesn't create biases or discriminate (against) people and also we need to be able to use it for good.”
Artigas spoke of Spain’s charter of digital rights, which covers AI, ensures that systems do not discriminate and humans have oversight of related technologies. As an EU nation, Spain also would have to adopt the EU’s AI Act once it is transposed into law. A vote on the legislation is anticipated sometime in March.
Spain is also eyeing sustainable AI – reducing the computing power used to test and deploy AI systems. The Spanish government's Green Algorithm program aims to ensure AI systems use sustainable energy sources starting from the design process.
Quantum computers in Spain
AI is not the only technology Artigas touted as being of interest to the Spanish government – with the other being quantum computing.
She described quantum as a future disruptive technology, like AI, and admitted excitement about what is to come in this growing field.
Artigas announced the Spanish government’s plan to build the first quantum computer in Southern Europe.
The Quantum Spain project will see startup Qilimanjaro Quantum Tech and the Spanish technology company GMV work on installing a quantum computer in the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, the home of MareNostrum – one of Europe’s fastest supercomputers that is arguably also the most aesthetically pleasing. It is housed in an old church.
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