On 29 May 2018, the Government of Slovenia proposed to the Director-General the establishment of a Category 2 Centre on Artificial Intelligence (AI) under the auspices of UNESCO at Jožef Stefan Institute (JSI), Ljubljana, Slovenia with the support of Knowledge 4 All Foundation.

Based thereon, UNESCO undertook the required feasibility study and assessed the proposed Centre’s scope, objectives, strategies and networking with other institutions from UNESCO’s vantage point.

The feasibility study also examined the available and promised human, material and financial resources for the Centre’s operations and sustainability. Further, it ascertained the commitments of both the Government of Slovenia and the Jožef Stefan Institute towards the proposed Category 2 Centre.

In order to allow full functional autonomy and as per the provisions set out in the revised integrated strategy on Category 2 Centre and institutes (37/C-18/PART_I), an International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI) will be created by transferring the operations of the Centre for Knowledge Transfer in Information Technologies (CT3) within JSI.

JSI currently has more than 950 researchers, of which 180 cover areas within Artificial Intelligence, such as Machine Learning, Data-Mining, Text-Mining, Web-Mining, Multimedia Mining, Semantic Technologies, Social Network Analysis, Language Technologies, Natural Language Processing, Cross-lingual Technologies, Real-time Data Analysis, Data Visualization, Knowledge Management, Knowledge Reasoning, Inductive Logic Programming, Evolutionary Computation, Multistrategy learning and principles of multiple knowledge, among others.

IRCAI’s overall objective cover Research, Advocacy, Capacity Building and Dissemination of information about artificial intelligence and other advanced ICTs. The objectives of the Centre shall be to:

  • Conduct theoretical and applied research in the field of artificial intelligence and advanced ICTs;
  • Develop open solutions to help achieve sustainable development goals with specific focus on SDGs 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 13, 16 and 17;
  • Provide policy support to help member states address the technical, legal, social and ethical challenges at the intersection of technology and policy;
  • Provide training for upstream and downstream capacity enhancement for artificial intelligence;
  • Encourage multi stakeholder participation and decision making in addressing the challenges raised by artificial intelligence;
  • Disseminate information and encourage literacy about artificial intelligence;
  • Promote measures for removal of gender bias in the development and deployment of artificial intelligence;
  • Facilitate north-north and north-south cooperation in the development of artificial intelligence with special emphasis on supporting the development of a vibrant artificial intelligence ecosystem in Africa.

IRCAI’s four objectives of research, capacity enhancement, advocacy and dissemination of knowledge of AI for SDGs aligns with UNESCO’s mandate of leveraging ICTs for sustainable development with a special emphasis on SDGs 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 13, 16 and 17.