AI is at the centre of the 2021 "new normal", of automated, robotic and contactless processes that will be aimed at protecting the world from future outbreaks. This new reality will as well further increase the speed of its adoption in various fields.
To succeed, AI needs to be democratised, i.e. made usable by a wider set of users. This will ensure expansion of the talent base able to service and use AI-driven ecosystems.
To facilitate the performance, scalability, interpretability, and reliability of AI models, a robust AI engineering strategy will be needed, making the technology a part of the mainstream IT process rather than a set of specialised and isolated projects.
Ability of AI-based systems to structure unstructured data will boost the implementation of robotics systems across all sectors. In manufacturing, AI will allow companies that design and build products to aggregate, intelligently transform, and contextually present product and process data from manufacturing lines throughout their supply chains.
It might well be that in 2021 quantum computing will find its first compelling AI application, which will allow for the commercialisation of the quantum AI segment.
The increase in remote work will drive the adoption of automated speech recognition capabilities, particularly in customer contact centres. Also, applications of face recognition technology will see an explosion in 2021 for strong authentication in a growing range of internal and customerfacing applications. The regulatory sensitivity of this technology, however, as well as the legal risks, will only grow for the foreseeable future. Due to this, responsible AI is emerging to deal with trust, transparency, ethics, fairness, interpretability, and compliance issues.
Despite some advanced AI-related projects being realised in Cypriot universities, as a state Cyprus is only making its first steps in the field. The government approved the National Artificial Intelligence strategy in January 2020. The priority areas of the strategy are the following:
• Cultivating talent, skills, and lifelong learning
• Increasing the competitiveness of businesses through support initiatives towards research and innovation and maximising opportunities for networking and partnerships
• Improving the quality of public services through the use of digital and AIrelated applications
• Creating national data areas
• Developing ethical and reliable AI. The document is an important first step, as was the establishment of the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Strategy in March 2020. Unfortunately, in practical terms little has been done for AI-related innovation in 2020. Will Cyprus start walking the talk in 2021?