Dutch government presents vision on generative AI

Dutch government presents vision on generative AI

As one of the first EU Member States, the Dutch government will today present a vision on generative AI. In this vision, the government emphasises the urgent need to take action with a view to the opportunities and challenges of this disruptive and at the same time promising technology. The vision ties in with a series of investments with of millions of euros already made by research institutions, private enterprises and government, all aimed at bringing the Netherlands more into line with the lightning-paced developments in the field of artificial intelligence.

In the words of Minister for Digitalisation Alexandra van Huffelen, “We wish to retain the values and prosperity of the Netherlands. According to figures from the IMF, in developed economies, up to sixty percent 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 that has ambition and vision based on public values and our objectives: ensuring that everyone can participate in the digital era, everyone can 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.”

Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Micky Adriaansens continued, “It is essential that the Netherlands does not 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 in 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.

Minister for Education, Culture and Science Robbert Dijkgraaf explained, “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 to 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 national and EU level. This will enable us to remain competitive in the field of LLMs and other forms of generative AI.”

The emergence of Generative AI

AI is a system technology that will have a huge impact on every domain and every sector of our society and that will affect every field of government policy. Generative AI is a specific form of AI. For example, it can assist humans in generating text, computer code, image and audio, and has already emerged as a powerful extension to human analytical and creative capacity. Certainly since the launch of chatbot ChatGPT at the end of 2022 and the introduction of other generative AI tools such as Google Bard, Midjourney and DALL-E, the use of AI has become a part of the everyday life of many people in the Netherlands.

New Dutch government actions

The Dutch government has called upon the Social and Economic Council (SER) to map out the impact of AI on labour productivity and the quantity and quality of work. The government also intends to organise campaigns to explain to people how best to protect their data against the training of generative AI models. Furthermore, investigation is underway into the establishment of a secure and usable public national AI test facility; later this year, AINEd InnovatieLabs will be launching public-private partnerships; the use of responsible generative AI applications in specific government services is due to be started and a National AI validation team will be established to assess available AI applications for example for non-discrimination. Finally, the Dutch government will continue to seek legislative advice on the legal framework, from various watchdogs.

The development last November of the open language model GTP-NL marked the start of activities aimed at promoting 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 13.5 million euros 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 €204.5 million to the AINEd programme, for knowledge, innovation and the application of Dutch AI (systems).

Opportunities and possibilities

Generative AI will have a huge impact on the economy, society and on both central and local government. The technology offers opportunities for increased productivity and new tasks and responsibilities within organisations and in the economy as a whole. It can also make a real contribution to improving internal organisational procedures and service provision. In the field of scientific research, generative AI could contribute to the elaboration, improvement and acceleration of new research methods.

Risks and challenges

At the same time there are concerns about potential risks. For example that generative AI will have a negative impact on the way in which we are provided with information which could in turn influence our democracy and the rule of law. In addition, generative AI technology is accelerating the existing dynamism in digital markets thereby increasing the risk of abuse of market power. In both the short and longer term, generative AI could result in the disappearance of job opportunities and elsewhere there are concerns about the possibility of prejudice and selectivity which could be embedded in the systems as a consequence of the training data and model parameters employed in creating those systems. Finally, at present, the Netherlands is largely dependent on language models from non-European countries, which could negatively affect the country’s innovative position, and the long-term earning capacity of the Netherlands.

Principles behind the vision

Through its value-driven approach, the Netherlands has an opportunity to become a leader in Europe and via Europe in the world. The Dutch government has announced its ambition to establish a strong AI ecosystem in the Netherlands and the EU, that offers every opportunity for innovation based on responsible generative AI. We aim to bring this about by encouraging cooperation, for example via the Dutch AI Coalition. We are also creating the necessary conditions for the development and use of generative AI applications, while maintaining our digital open strategic autonomy. With that in mind, the Dutch government has identified four policy principles.

Generative AI in the Netherlands:

  1.  Must be developed and applied in a safe manner.
  2.  Must be developed and applied in a fair and equitable manner.
  3.  Must be at the service of human wellbeing and human autonomy.
  4.  Must contribute to sustainability and our continued prosperity.

From vision to action

To ensure that we are able to use and develop responsible generative AI in the Netherlands, while maintaining control over the impact of this technology, the Dutch government is presenting 6 action lines in this vision. By collaborating with all stakeholders, closely monitoring the rapid developments in the field of AI, developing appropriate legislation and regulations, expanding available knowledge and skills (among others in education), by (safely) experimenting with generative AI within government itself and by ensuring strict supervision of AI, with enforcement measures where necessary, the Netherlands can remain at the forefront of the inevitable changes in our society as a consequence of generative AI.

For more information, please contact:

Thomas van Oortmerssen, Spokesman for the Dutch Minister for Digitalisation 
Communication Department
Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Turfmarkt 147 | 2511 DP | The Hague Postbus 20011 | 2500 EA The Hague 
M 06 31019781 / E [email protected]

Originally published at https://www.government.nl/latest/news/2024/01/18/dutch-government-dutch-government-presents-vision-on-generative-ai

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EU editor