AmCham Bulgaria Proposed the Establishment of a National AI Discussion Platform

On behalf of AmCham, Iva Todorova, Board Member and Co-chair of the Digital Committee of the Chamber, proposed the establishment of a public private partnership between the state and the business for Artificial Intelligence. Rossen Jeliazkov, Minister of Transport and ITC welcomed the idea in the view of clear goals setting. It happened during the 2nd Round Table “Digital Sustainability Forum”, organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria at Grand Hotel Sofia.

Petar T. Ivanov, Executive Director of AmCham Bulgaria declared that the Chamber is the mediator of such a process and discussion, which goal is the provide practical support to the authorities, in the field of the AI. “For the business it is better to have separate body in which we can discuss the relevant topics for any technology,” he pointed out. During the preparation of the both round tables so far, the Chamber has already identified the experts that can be useful for such discussions.

Att. Borislav Boyanov, who had the moderation of the event, pointed out that each state itself is weak if it has to deal with AI alone. He continued that Bulgaria must develop even better cooperation with its neighbors in Southeast Europe region. “Our regional capacity includes 200,000 IT specialists, which is several times more than what each country has,” Boyanov emphasized.

“We see that the technologies will impact policies and the society, and they all together will move ahead. Thus, when we discuss the ethical aspects of the artificial intelligence, I think, that we are still at the doorstep of what are the requirements of the AI,” pointed out Rossen Jeliazkov, Minister of Transport, and ITC,

“We all know the famous triad to which the AI has to comply – lawfulness, ethics, and sustainability, and their scope will inevitably will increase. Now we have AI implementation in the industry, agriculture, medicine, public service, etc. The most valid element here is the regulatory one, not the technological one. Thus, both public power and industry will go hand in hand without creating any over-regulation,” he also said.

Minister Jeliazkov underlined that the discussed topic for drafting of Bulgaria’s AI Strategy will be discussed at the national level in line with the EU policies. “Europe is a cradle of values, rights, and freedoms in the in the human development. However, it does not necessary mean that it is a mark of competitiveness.” Currently it is hard to Europe to be a leader in the global scene just because of all the restrictions and regulations that it has imposes itself. It places Europe at the position to defend human values and positions, but it cannot improve its economic development and growth.

Minister Jeliazkov informed the event’s audience of ITC experts and leaders, that there is a serios discussion between the various indentations in Bulgaria for the implementation of the technologies. “Such a discussion is an evolutionary one too, because through technologies the whole administration will change. It is changing now but slowly,” he said also.

Related to the AI topics are included in three important documents: Digital Bulgaria National Program, Industry 4.0 Strategy, and the E-Government Strategy. Minister Jeliazkov asked for support from the business and towards the business NGOs so that these documents to have their practical implementation. “They will receive their practical implementation when we create specific road maps, concrete projects, and results via the new financial documents,” he commented also.

There are a lot if distortions in the digital area both in Bulgaria and in the SEE Region, pointed minister Jeliazkov too. It is true that together we are stronger. For example, his relevant colleagues from North Macedonia, Greece, and Romania have showed interest to the opportunities that the super-computer of Bulgaria will possess after its entry of operation.

Expected results

AmCham Bulgaria will gather feedback from all participants at the Digital Sustainability Forum. It will be provided to the Bulgarian Government to be considered in the drafting of the AI Strategy of Bulgaria, which is part of the EU’s AI Strategy.