AI: Defining Amsterdam’s future

Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to be the defining technology of the future, as visionary tech like self-driving cars and healthcare robots become part of everyday life. Amsterdam is already renowned for it expertise in the sector, but plans are in place for the city to become a true world-leader in AI in the coming years. As part of that plan, its also introducing schemes and initiatives that will use that expertise to improve quality of life and boost the city’s already thriving sectors, such as life sciences and FinTech. The Amsterdam Area has also set itself an ambitious goal to extend the average lifespan of citizens by two years, and big data and AI are set to play a key part in reaching this goal.

Amsterdam has great potential to become a leading hub for AI.” – Jim Stolze, Aigency

One of the biggest developments in AI in the city is the UvA and City of Amsterdam’s planned world-class AI hub. Expected to be fully operational by 2021, it will tap into the booming global AI market by acting as a base for students and researchers from the university, and co-creation between the university, research institutes and the private sector. Don’t forget that Amsterdam is already home to many academic labs that work closely with the industry, such as the Qualcomm-QUVA LabUvA-Bosch DELTA LabAMLABIntelligent Sensory Information Systems, and ILPS. Many are also based at the Amsterdam Science Park. One company that's using Amsterdam's thriving AI scene to its advantage is the Science Park's Bit Studentsa non-profit foundation in which high-flying tech students put their talents to the test by developing computer science, AI and design projects for leading companies. Find out more about the company in the video below.

Shaping AI through investment and innovation

One way to shape the future of AI is through business development programmes that help startups achieve their growth ambitions – something Amsterdam does exceptionally well, with €322 million raised by the city’s startups and scale-ups in 2017 alone. One such initiative is accelerator Rockstart, which mainly supports smart energy and web & mobile startups, which launched Europe’s AI-focused accelerator last year. 

To help nurture the next generation of AI experts, Amsterdam School of Data Science – a collaboration between four of the city’s research and applied sciences universities – offers more than 250 data-science driven programmes, and in 2017 the Growth Tribe academy, which specialises in teaching digital growth skills, launched a new AI training programme that teaches people without a technical background about AI and machine learning (ML), the first of its kind in the world. The city’s two universities also offer a joint masters programme in AI.