Konstantin from Orange: “Obviously we are busy with other things”

Konstantin from Orange: "Obviously we are busy with other things"

Connecting to artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is nothing new and seems to have been intertwined with the work of technology champions for years. What’s up with that? “AI has been around for over sixty years, but in recent years it has taken on a new dimension with the arrival of generative AI, of which ChatGPT is the most famous. We are currently in the next wave of technological developments that are spawning many new companies. In addition, Many companies that collaborate with Techleap have to change their direction to avoid being outdone by new solutions to the same problems that work more efficiently and effectively. Every company is looking at how and where it can be introduced in the company. Artificial intelligence nowadays is a very important factor in the success of startups in the field Technology.

Consumer versus producer in technology

According to the tech leader, the Netherlands is a bold country. Specifically, he sees a lot of entrepreneurship in health and energy applications, in (sustainable) impact generation, Saas companies and fintech companies. “If you look purely at AI, we can say that we have a good foundation in the developer field, and the science is also reasonable. In Europe, we are below the top, but we cannot say that we are a big player in this field. AI field.”

According to him, the idea that AI developments occur mainly in Silicon Valley, France and China seems partly true. “Take the American company OpenAI as an example. Even before it produces a product like ChatGPT, a lot has already been invested in it. A certain climate, sufficient funds, talent density and an open data culture are the most important requirements for such an AI invention to take off.”

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The tech champion makes the comparison with the Netherlands. “Here we find it more difficult to share data. There are all kinds of privacy rules that may not be relevant sometimes, but they encourage people to be careful. The whole culture of sharing data — as fuel for artificial intelligence — is, in my opinion, a better opinion in America.”

Although there are a number of challenges that make it difficult for Europeans to take the necessary steps, Van Oranje believes that we should not forget that we are certainly capable of doing this in Europe. “Take for example Google’s AI division, which spun out of UK company Deepmind, and ChatGPT, which has an Albanian CTO. However, in order to truly scale AI development, funds and facilities are needed to scale the business.” More. And that’s what we have very little of here and in Silicon Valley, for example, a lot of it. And that has an effect, because as an entrepreneur you don’t think too much, for example, because you think there’s no sense anyway. Would you go After all? 10 billion dollars for your ideas?

Take Google’s AI division, for example. This comes from Deepmind from the UK.

Survival of the fittest financially

The Special Envoy would like to make a comment on the above. “It’s not that we don’t invest at all – take Invest-NL and all sorts of other financial schemes – but we don’t make technology and AI in particular a priority. When I look now at the election data, technology and industrial policy have been completely pushed to the side. The priority. “We are obviously busy with other things. Not to mention the reduction of the 30% rule for expatriates. We are reducing the number of foreign students and expatriates due to the housing problem. While we really need it.”

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He says many employers in Eindhoven are keen on tech talent. “If your priority is for the Netherlands to be relevant in technology, to innovate and also to have companies like ASML in the future, the result will be, among other things, a solution to the housing shortage. You can combine technology and housing cannot be looked at.” separately.” According to the technology champion, we now see the two as separate things. “That’s a shame. If you say, as a country, that you want to build technology-leading companies, then you also have to be open to the fact that talent can come into those companies. If you don’t do that, you will lose out to them and at some point you will go into the business.” Technology and therefore artificial intelligence against countries such as England, France, the Gulf states, Singapore, America and China.”

He continues his story about England’s performance in artificial intelligence. “They are competing fiercely to attract the best AI, engineering and technology talent to their country.” How can we as the Netherlands follow this example? “Financially, with a supportive ecosystem, by making people feel valued for their talent and expressing what we want to achieve in technology,” Van Oranje answers.

A role for the government. Role for companies

The Tech Envoy is very clear about the role that technology companies should play. “They eventually do! The government doesn’t actually do the building – on the bridges and the roads – but it creates an environment in which things can arise. Entrepreneurs have to be able to build, they have to be able to do business. Overall, you need people and money.” To achieve this, “there is little infrastructure that you as a government can facilitate, but the technical innovations ultimately come from the entrepreneurs themselves. Again, there needs to be a culture in which entrepreneurship is encouraged and rewarded. This is a choice you have as a country.”

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He gives the example of France, where AI innovations can expect a lot of money from the government, and Sweden and Estonia, where funding is mainly private and the government’s role is smaller. “Before you make such a choice, you must believe that there is a competitive battle taking place on the technology front, in which you can also lose. Wouldn’t we mind taking a few steps back? To see everything? So that’s a ‘choice,’ but then not You can claim that you want to be independent and digitally sovereign. In this case you become a consumer of what others produce in the field of technology and more specifically in the field of artificial intelligence.”

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