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EnglishEmotion AI is the next trend after Generative AI

Emotion AI is the next trend after Generative AI

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Emotion AI, which detects and interprets human emotional signals, is expected to take over, said Federico Menna, the CEO of European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT Digital), in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) ahead of his participation in the 9th Delphi Economic Forum, scheduled to take place on April 10-13, in Delphi.

“ Emotion AI is the next trend after generative because, on top of being able to generate content based on user interaction or request, emotion AI is able to react and understand the emotions of the human in front of the machine and react accordingly” he stressed .

Menna also mentions that EIT Digital is fostering the next generation of digital ventures, products, and services, while also nurturing digital entrepreneurial talent, and working towards a strong digital Europe that is fair, inclusive, and sustainable.

The full interview of Federico Menna with Katia Tsimplaki follows:

In what ways does EIT Digital contribute to building the next generation of digital ventures, products, and services, and how does it foster the growth of digital entrepreneurial talent?

First and foremost, we are investors in early-stage deep tech ventures, we are the patient capital European deep tech needs and more than that through our six months long Venture Program and year-long Open Innovation Factory we nurture start-up teams and enable their growth, product development and expansion through our programmes. Often our Master School students, attending the unique entrepreneurial education are ready to launch their start-up right out of university, we then take them to our Venture Program. In Greece the Artistotle University of Thessaloniki and the ICCS at the National Technical University in Greece are our university partners.  We are fostering the next generation of digital ventures, products, and services, while also nurturing digital entrepreneurial talent in several ways:
Entrepreneurship Education: EIT Digital offers a range of educational programs at both the undergraduate (see Summer Schools) and postgraduate levels (see Master School), focusing on digital entrepreneurship and innovation. These programs provide students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and mindset to launch and scale digital ventures successfully. EIT Digital is also engaged in executive education and self-paced courses for both for professionals and general public and for digital innovators. Some great examples are the recently launched course on Generative AI and the well established Speed Master. Last but not least EIT Digital is engaged also in further upskilling of a wider talent pool through the AI-powered (d)Academy.
Business Acceleration and Internationalisation: EIT Digital runs various acceleration programs and initiatives aimed at helping early-stage startups and scaleups to accelerate their growth. These programs provide access to funding, mentorship, networking opportunities, and other resources essential for building successful digital businesses. Some highlights include the Open Innovation Factory taking beneficiaries from a product-market fit to scalable revenue and the Growth Services that prepares, connects and helps beneficiaries raise Series A/B funding. Overall, EIT Digital assists digital ventures in expanding their presence beyond their home markets across Europe and in the US through its US Landing Program. Through its network of partners and resources, it provides guidance and support to startups looking to enter new markets, establish partnerships, or access international funding opportunities.
Ecosystem Building: EIT Digital actively fosters collaboration and knowledge exchange within the European digital ecosystem through more than 20 offices spread across Europe covering from Helsinki to Athens and from Cluj-Napoca to Madrid. The organisation brings together startups, corporations, investors, research institutions, and policy-makers through events, workshops, and networking activities, facilitating partnerships and synergies that drive innovation and growth.
Thought leadership: EIT Digital collaborates with leading universities, research institutions, and companies across Europe to identify emerging digital trends and technologies. Through its innovation and research programs, it supports the development of cutting-edge solutions in areas such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), and digital infrastructure and develops thought leadership on the above. The thought leadership platform of EIT Digital is branded as Makers & Shapers in the form of reports, interview conversations and op-eds in tier 1 media. The Makers refer to captains of industry, high-profile start-up executives and investment experts and the Shapers to EU and national policy-makers.
Overall, EIT Digital plays a vital role in shaping the future of digital innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe by fostering collaboration, providing resources and support, and nurturing the next generation of digital leaders and ventures.

How does EIT Digital ensure that its pan-European open-innovation ecosystem benefits not only corporations and startups but also individuals facing economic challenges, particularly in regions with higher rates of poverty and inequality?

We are working towards a strong digital Europe, that is fair, inclusive, and sustainable.  EIT Digital is always looking at societal impact, whenever we have touchpoints with students we emphasize that they have a responsibility when developing and designing tech, so this responsibility is a core element.
In our master school we have limited number of scholarships available and also work with large players, like the European Investment Fund in offering deferred tuition payment plan to students, you can check out the student’s stories who benefitted here. We are just getting started in regions that are moderate innovators (According to the European Scorecard on Innovation), our first step is always open an office and work with local partners to bring innovation to the market and at the same time open the doors for internationalization to them, good examples are Thessaloniki and Cluj-Napoca Romania. But I said we are just getting started; you will see us moving in more regions that are looking to innovate more.

How does EIT Digital synchronize its investments in strategic sectors to tackle Europe’s prominent societal issues, such as poverty and inequality, leveraging digital innovation?

EIT Digital’s startups in the portfolio all are focused on critical digital development areas. We don’t have initiatives that address poverty or inequality per se, the impact of our work is more seen through the startups in our portfolio companies and our thought leadership reports, that help policymakers analyze different scenarios for digital innovation impact and hopefully allow them to take a risk based approach (with Generative AI for example).
From our startups’ stories that focus on core societal issues I would highlight Ozzie Robotics from Greece, the caregiver version of OZZIE can support older, MCI persons at home and in caregiving settings through: assistance provision in the tasks of medication intake and nutritional activities, monitoring and reporting seniors’ daily activities and information on their health status, remote communication of older persons and patients with relatives and friends.
An important aspect to look at when speaking about inequalities is digital innovation and the new world AI creates – we need to ensure that no one is left behind. In this aspect our (d)Academy where we help employees understand what skills they need for a next job and help them find the right courses with the power of AI.

What are some key elements or components of a successful digital innovation ecosystem?

There are at least three components of a successful digital innovation ecosystem based on our experience at EIT Digital:
Collaborative Networks: Building strong partnerships and networks among startups, scaleups, academia, research institutions, and corporations fosters knowledge exchange, cross-pollination of ideas, and resource sharing, driving innovation forward. EIT Digital is the manifestation of this at pan-European level.
Entrepreneurial Support: Providing comprehensive support structures including mentorship programs, access to funding, and incubation/acceleration services empowers startups and entrepreneurs to develop and scale their digital ventures effectively.
Market Access and Commercialisation Support: Assisting innovators in accessing markets, navigating regulatory frameworks, and commercialising their digital products or services globally is essential for their success, ensuring that innovative solutions reach their intended users and make a significant impact. At EIT Digital we like saying that we accompany our the journey of a digital innovator from being a student to reaching a unicorn level of company.

What skills should an employee have in the era of AI in order to evolve and remain competitive in the new environment of digital work?

While our EIT Digital Master School has at its core, practical skills in innovation and entrepreneurship this is based on key technical competencies relevant to the era of AI, notably data science, cybersecurity, human computer interaction and design and many more. While the programme targets students it also clearly shows the type of skills an employee should have in the era of AI. Some of those stemming from our programme.
AI Literacy: Understanding the basics of artificial intelligence, including machine learning and its applications, is crucial for employees to effectively collaborate with AI systems and leverage their capabilities in their work.
Data Literacy: Proficiency in working with data, including collecting, analysing, and interpreting data sets, enables employees to derive insights and make informed decisions in AI-driven environments.
Adaptability and Continuous Learning: The ability to adapt to new technologies and methodologies, coupled with a commitment to continuous learning, ensures that employees remain agile and competitive in a rapidly evolving AI landscape.
At EIT Digital we have a flagship initiative linked to up-skilling and re-skilling equipping employees for the era of AI in order to evolve and remain competitive in the new environment of digital work. One example is the recently launched (d)Academy aiming to up-skill talent for the digital age using the power of AI.

Looking ahead, what do you see as the future trends or developments within the digital innovation landscape, and how EIT Digital preparing to capitalize on these opportunities?

EIT Digital is future-looking aiming to future-proof Europeans in the field of technology. In recent times we have dedicated a lot of attention to Generative AI – the technology behind ChatGPT which learns the patterns of data and generates new data in text or image form. This was the hype of 2023 and continues to be an exciting field. Over the last months we have launched a dedicated course on Generative AI essentials for the general public that offers a comprehensive foundation and hands-on experience across key aspects, including project management, marketing and customer journey, and the ethical and responsible use of this revolutionary technology. After the success of the 2023 edition, we are now working on a new edition to be launched in May this year.
Our work however did not stop there as we have looked into Generative AI also as part of our thought leadership with the latest EIT Digital Makers & Shapers report that we developed together with AiNed. In this report that  launched on March 21 with an event in Brussels we dive into Generative AI, exploring its rapid rise and influence on the wider realm of AI. Through scenario-based analysis, the report assesses potential outcomes across various Generative AI trajectories. In the midst of evolving regulatory landscapes, such as the EU’s efforts to integrate Generative AI into frameworks like the Artificial Intelligence Act, the report offers actionable insights for decision-makers, helping them navigate the potential impacts of policy decisions on the trajectory of Generative AI and the broader AI landscape.
Looking ahead, as I recently spoke to Euronews about, emotion AI, which defects and interprets human emotional signals is expected to take over. Emotion AI is the next trend after Generative because, on top of being able to generate content based on user interaction or request, emotion AI is able to react and understand the emotions of the human in front of the machine and react accordingly.

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