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(English) Russian Internet, financial and oil majors join forces to foster artificial intelligence

23 ноября 2019

(English)

Five top Russian corporations – state-controlled financial giant Sberbank, Internet groups Yandex and Mail.Ru, mobile operator MTS and oil major Gazprom Neft, – together with the sovereign fund RDIF, intend to pool their resources to foster Russian AI technologies. 

The agreement was inked earlier this month, a few weeks after a “National Strategy for the Development of Artificial Intelligence for the period until 2030” was enacted by President Vladimir Putin.

“Any profession should be required to know how to work with artificial intelligence  – in the economy, business, education, healthcare, law enforcement and, of course, in state administrations at all level,” stated the Russian President on Nov. 9 as the alliance was signed. 

As reported by Vedomosti, the alliance will be organized as follows:

  • It will not be a legal entity in itself but may implement projects by establishing public-private partnerships, private companies, investment funds, associations or other vehicle;
  • It is open to other companies of all sizes;
  • It will work in partnership with the state with Vice Prime Minister Maxim Akimov coordinating activities on the government side;
  • The founding members of the alliance are expected to work out a concrete action plan soon, splitting projects and responsibilities to develop their joint projects.

Real-life AI

The alliance aims to accelerate the development of AI technologies by uniting their efforts. Alliance members intend to jointly create AI components, study and test new AI solutions, promote these new technologies actively and train a qualified workforce. They will also work out unified principles for using data and participate in the establishment of new regulations.

Mail.ru Group – which controls a variety of online businesses from social networks to gaming to e-commerce – will contribute to implement these technologies in real life, including in B2B.

On its side, mobile operator MTS may use anonymized data from its 78-million customer base as a contribution to developing these new AI technologies.

While alliance members do not intend to request funding from the state budget, they will aim to attracting private investments in this emerging industry, in addition to contributing their own resources to joint projects.

The RDIF claims to have already attracted no less than $2 billion from Russian and foreign sources to Russian AI companies. The sovereign fund will also help these companies grow internationally.

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