Monday 20 March 2023

Costa Rica seeks to become a Central American Hub for AI

MICITT starts formulation of Artificial Intelligence strategy.

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18 March 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – On Monday the Ministry of Science, Innovation, Technology and Telecommunications (MICITT) took the first decisive step in the formulation of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy for the country.

With the event called “Towards an Artificial Intelligence Strategy in Costa Rica”, the MICITT intends to trace the roadmap so that, through processes of linkage and social and productive transformation, together with the intensive use of knowledge and democratic access to the benefits of science, innovation, technology and telecommunications, the change that the country needs is generated, all this in coordination and collaboration with fAIr Lac and Centro Nacional de Alta Tecnología (CeNAT) – the National High Technology Center.

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“We have opted for great global challenges in a knowledge-based society and economy. Thanks to the support of the different actors of the National Science, Technology and Innovation System, various policies have been generated, such as the National Knowledge-Based Economy and Society Policy and the National Science, Technology and Innovation Plan, among others that They have allowed us to incorporate digital technologies and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence into their priority work topics,” said MICITT Chief Paula Bogantes.

Paula Bogantes, Costa Rica’s Minister of Science, Innovation, Technology and Telecommunications

For her part, Vanessa Gibson, CINDE’s Director of Investment Climate, said “Artificial intelligence is one of the exponential technologies that CINDE has its eyes on, knowing that it is a field that represents job opportunities that are highly demanded by companies, with the possibility of exponentially facilitating the efficiency and productivity of an endless number of processes. From the fAIr LAC network, at CINDE we have worked to build a robust ecosystem of allies for the development of an artificial intelligence strategy that is inclusive and sustainable.”

Faced with the great global challenges, it has opted for a knowledge-based society and economy that, through processes of linkage and social and productive transformation, with the intensive use of knowledge and democratic access to the benefits of science, innovation, technology and telecommunications generate change.

At the event, previous efforts made in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) the previous year were announced and the strategy formulation process began. In addition, the pilot plan for the Laboratorio Nacional de Inteligencia Artificial (LaNIA)  – National Artificial Intelligence Laboratory – was presented by the CeNAT in coordination with fAIr Lac.

“To maximize the transformative potential of artificial intelligence, it is necessary to articulate efforts between the different actors in the country’s research and innovation ecosystem. We consider it essential to have an entity that accelerates these efforts and that is why CeNAT has participated in the proposal for the National Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (LaNIA). LaNIA will carry out training, awareness, promotion and development activities of artificial intelligence initiatives that have a high impact on our society,” mentioned Esteban Meneses, Director of the CeNAT.

Methodological Proposal

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To begin with the construction of the Artificial Intelligence Strategy in a structured and coherent way, as a result of the previous studies, a series of stages and phases were proposed, which in an orderly manner, will help in the gathering of requirements and the construction of the Strategy that try to include:

  • Study and documentation of stakeholders, plans and regulatory instruments of interest to the Strategy.
  • Definition of the strategic orientation and planning with different actors.
  • Establishment of the Bank of Projects and criteria for its selection and inclusion in the Strategy.
  • Associated Action Plan.
  • Publication, awareness and socialization of the Strategy both nationally and internationally.
  • Evaluation of the strategy with digital tools for subsequent feedback and impact analysis.

    “AI is a ‘country issue’ that must be continuous.” According to previous studies, AI is a ‘country issue’ that must be continuous, the case of Costa Rica must include the imprint of the government and its development perspective for the country. And what would generate:

  • Position Costa Rica as a regional leader in Artificial Intelligence in its responsible and ethical use.
  • Improve the quality of life of citizens through Artificial Intelligence, contributing to closing gaps to improve levels of access to digital goods and increase social and territorial cohesion.
  • Generate a positive impact on the wealth and productivity of companies in the country through the extensive use of AI in the established term.
  • Promote the improvement of efficiency in the provision of public services through AI for a faster and more concise public administration in its performance and results.
  • Convert Costa Rica into a regional benchmark with a policy of generating alliances and links with large companies for technology transfer, as well as with national AI providers, to strengthen its position as a Hub in Central America, which maintains security standards and suitable collaborative creation.
  • Generate both technical and organizational human capacities in AI at all levels (institutions, academia and the private sector).

The report for the Construction of the AI Strategy in Costa Rica constitutes the “base for the development of the Artificial Intelligence Strategy, where the proposed objectives and axes are justified examples and adapted to the context of Costa Rica that serve in the future construction of a solid and consensual strategy with the different actors”, under an ethical and responsible vision of the use of artificial intelligence.

Additionally, the interim Minister of Health Alexei Carrillo, who presented important links between artificial intelligence and the necessary actions in Health, which will contribute to concrete actions for the AI Strategy.

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Within the framework of the activity, the declaration of intent between MICITT and UNESCO for cooperation on the subject of Artificial Intelligence was signed with the aim of having accompaniment and advice within the framework of the “Network of first adopters of the Recommendation UNESCO on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence”.

From MICITT

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