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Inspiration

Are you an individual, an organisation, a policymaker, or a training provider?
Are you looking for inspiration for boosting digital transformation?
We are here to support you in defining your path to digital transformation by providing inspirational information on good practices, resources, and research from across the country and Europe.

Let’s find out more!

Bulgarian INSAIT – Europe’s Top 10 in AI

By NEWS, Без категория
Bulgarian INSAIT - Europe's Top 10 in AI

03.04.2024 |

The Institute for Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology (INSAIT), based in Sofia, has established itself as a key player for Bulgaria, positioning our country among the top ten in Europe in the field of artificial intelligence, according to an announcement from the Ministry of Education and Science.

INSAIT’s participation with 16 articles on CVPR, the most cited forum on artificial intelligence and computer vision, highlights its great contribution, with the total number of articles from Bulgaria surpassing that of all countries in Eastern Europe combined.

INSAIT outperforms leading universities and institutions from countries such as Israel, the Netherlands, Finland, Austria and many others, showing its high competitiveness on the international stage. Established in April 2022 in partnership with two of the world leaders in technical education, the Swiss ETH Zurich and EPFL, the institute represents a pioneering move for Eastern Europe, offering research opportunities and facilities comparable to global standards.

Supported by giants such as Google, Amazon Web Services, DeepMind, and others, as well as by technology entrepreneurs, INSAIT focuses on scientific excellence: conducting world-class research, attracting outstanding international scientists, and training the next generation of graduates and technology leaders. INSAIT is structured as a special unit of St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia, with its own regulations and governing boards.

Details

Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital skills for the workforce

Digital skills for ICT professionals

Digital skills in education

Digital skills for children

Digital skills for public administration

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Cybersecurity

European Digital Skills Awards 2024: Now Accepting Applications!

By NEWS
European Digital Skills Awards 2024: Now Accepting Applications!

26.03.2024 |

With the aim of highlighting the outstanding achievements of projects and initiatives aiming to close the digital skills gap in Europe, the European Digital Skills Awards 2024 (EDSA24) are officially open for applications.

Building on the resounding success of last year’s edition, which drew a staggering 330 entries across five distinct categories, the European Commission and the Digital Skills and Jobs Platform are thrilled to announce the start of EDSA24. This prestigious initiative seeks to commend and celebrate the exceptional endeavors of organisations across Europe that have committed to improving digital skills through their innovative projects, programmes, and initiatives. The forthcoming edition promises to elevate this recognition to unprecedented heights.

Outlined below are the categories for this year’s edition:
  • Digital Upskilling @ Work: Initiatives dedicated to enhancing digital skills and reskilling professionals across various sectors, including SMEs, with a focus on facilitating job placements for ICT professionals at all levels.
  • Digital Skills for Education: Projects tailored towards digital upskilling for educators, students, vocational education and training (VET) institutions, and school administrations.
  • Inclusion in the Digital World: Efforts aimed at providing digital training and fostering media literacy among marginalized communities, including but not limited to ethnic minorities, migrants, people with disabilities, isolated elderly individuals, children, and other high-risk groups.
  • Women in ICT Careers: Initiatives geared towards increasing the representation of women in ICT professions, offering digital upskilling opportunities for women in the workforce, and inspiring young women to pursue careers in ICT.
  • Cybersecurity Skills: Programmes designed to cultivate cybersecurity skills among citizens and SMEs, ensuring a robust defense against digital threats.

Applications are open until 2 April 2024.

All organisations – public, private, academic, research or training centers, schools, SMEs, large corporations, EU-funded project consortia, public administrations, NGOs, or citizen initiatives – that have either initiated or concluded projects or initiatives aimed at fostering the adoption of digital skills in one of the five award categories are encouraged to apply for consideration.

For those unsure about the eligibility of their projects, the Digital Skills and Jobs Platform Team is readily available for assistance at info@digitalskillsjobs.eu.

Are you ready to shine a spotlight on Europe’s digital prowess? Learn more about the new edition and complete the online application form: https://digital-skills-jobs.europa.eu/en/latest/news/ready-showcase-europes-prowess-digital-skills-european-digital-skills-awards-2024-are

For the Finalists and Winners of the new edition, the prize consists of:
  • Mention and presence at the online event announcing the finalists;
  • Invitation of the winners to participate in the award ceremony in Brussels (with travel and accommodation expenses paid by the organisers). It will be also a networking opportunity for the winners to meet the European Commission representatives and members of the National Coalitions;
  • The publication of the initiative/project on the Digital Skills and Jobs Platform, including the promotion on @DigitalSkillsEU social media accounts;
  • A trophy and a certificate;

Official documentation is available here: https://digital-skills-jobs.europa.eu/en/european-digital-skills-awards-2024-0  

May the best digital skills projects win!

 

About Digital Skills and Jobs Platform

The Digital Skills and Jobs Platform (DSJP) is the home of digital skills and jobs initiatives in Europe and the heart of the Digital Skills and Jobs Community. Created as one of the initiatives launched under the Connecting Europe Facility Programme, the Platform contributes to the DIGITAL Europe Programme – an ambitious EU programme that strives to make Europe more competitive in the global digital economy through digital capacity-building and ensuring a wide use of digital technologies across the EU. The Platform aspires to boost the digital competencies of European society and workforce and offers a wide range of trainings and career development support, an overview of good practices, expert advice, funding opportunities and financial instruments, news, event and much more to enforce digital skills in Europe.

 

Contact info

For more information please contact: The DSJP Team info@digitalskillsjobs.eu

Media Contact

For more information please contact: info@digitalskillsjobs.eu

Details

Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital skills for the workforce

Digital skills for ICT professionals

Digital skills in education

Digital skills for children

Digital skills for public administration

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Cybersecurity

5G

HackTheBusiness – Registrations OPEN!

By NEWS
HackTheBusiness - Registrations OPEN!

12.03.2024 |

What’s the challenge?


HackTheBusiness 
offers an entrepreneurship challenge tailored for young minds eager to explore the vast potential of Sustainability.

The challenge is to propose an innovative business idea that navigates the sustainable landscape and pioneer new frontiers in the eco-friendly industry relating to agri-food, construction, manufacturing and digital and creative industries.

Participants are encouraged to think critically, creatively, and sustainably, aiming to address environmental concerns and contribute to a more eco-conscious and resilient future in these key sectors!

Who can attend?

If you are between 18 and 40 years old, based in Europe, with a passion for innovation and sustainability – join us!

The HackTheBusiness competition is aimed at bright minds including students, new startuppers, and researchers who want to acquire entrepreneurial skills and explore their potential.

Contestants can participate as individuals or in teams of up to 4 members.

About the Competition

The final HackTheBusiness will take place in the Innovation Forum “John Atanasoff” at Sofia Tech Park in Sofia, Bulgaria on the 26th and 27th of March 2024.

You and your team will pitch to get an opportunity to participate in ENTREPRENEDU’s business acceleration programme, where your sustainable idea has a strong potential to bring real changes into the world, with the help of ENTREPRENEDU mentors.

 

You should register by the 18th of March!

APPLY NOW

Details

Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Software Engineering

Digital Skills

Happy International Women’s Day!

By NEWS
Happy International Women's Day!

08.03.2024 |

Happy 8th of March!

This is the day we celebrate the significant role of women in society. After all, without the contribution of women, the world as we know it would not be the same. Let us admire the strength, perseverance, talent, and grace with which women achieve their goals.

Today, we want to remember some of the most influential ladies in the world of technology.

Let’s start with the renowned Ada Lovelace, born on December 10, 1815, in London. She is the first programmer in history. Ada developed an algorithm for a computing machine, considered the precursor to modern programming. The programming language “Ada” is named in her honor. In addition to her work in computer science, Lovelace is also known for her translations and commentaries on scientific works, as well as for publishing many articles and essays on various topics.

Next is the great Hedy Lamarr, born on November 9, 1914, in Vienna. She was considered the “Most Beautiful Woman in Europe.” Besides her exotic appearance and acting skills, she was also a great inventor. Hedy developed frequency-hopping technology, which is used in today’s world to improve the signal of wireless communications and Wi-Fi networks.

An interesting fact is that she moved from Germany to the United States and changed her stage name. After the outbreak of World War II, Hedy decided to serve her new homeland. She was appointed to fulfill obligations in defense.

Margaret Hamilton, born on August 17, 1936, is an American computer scientist, systems engineer, and entrepreneur. She is known for her work at NASA and is responsible for developing software that helped successfully land a man on the Moon in 1969.

Before her work at NASA, she was involved in the production of the musicals “Michael” and “Ray” as an actress in Manhattan. This diversity in her career shows that her talent and interests have ranged from acting to technology and computer science.

Ginni Rometty, born on July 29, 1957, is the first woman to become CEO of IBM in the company’s history. She is one of the most influential women in the technology industry and is known for leading IBM through a period of significant change and innovation.

As a final note, let’s pay attention to a significant and unique achievement in Bulgarian history. This achievement belongs to Rayna Kasabova, the Bulgarian woman remembered in history as the first woman in the world to participate in a combat flight. During the Balkan War (1912 – 1913), Rayna Kasabova, at the age of 15, voluntarily worked in a field hospital near Edirne. On October 30, 1913, she participated in a combat flight with the airplane “Voazen,” under the command of Second Lieutenant Stefan Kalinov. Thus, Rayna Kasabova inscribed her name in world history as the first female pioneer in aviation.

 

Details

Website

www.digitalalliance.bg 

Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital technology

Digital Skills

The Women and Girls in Science 2024 (WGS24) challenge

By NEWS
The Women and Girls in Science 2024 (WGS24) challenge

01.03.2024 |

The Women and Girls in Science 2024 (WGS24) challenge, organised by the NATO Science& Technology Organization (STO) is an event for female university students and early career researchers, up to 30 years old. The goal of the WGS24 challenge is to inspire young women to pursue studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and to bring more diversity to those disciplines.The challenge launches on 8 February 2024, in celebration of the United Nations Day for Women & Girls in Science 2024 (11 February 2024), with a call for research proposals. The shortlisted participants will take part in the challenge finale at NATO Headquarters (HQ) (Brussels, Belgium) on 30 May 2024.

WGS24 Challenge:

  • Scope: Participants will be asked to submit a short research proposal, guided by the following question: What research idea would you like to see NATO realise over the next five years? The proposals should address at least one of the following NATO S&T focus areas: energy security, climate change, human security, societal resilience. The ideas can either aim to solve an existing issue or prevent its evolution.
  • Audience: This challenge is tailored to young female university students (bachelor, master,PhD) and early career researchers up to 30 years old, who are nationals of NATO countries.
  • Description: The competition will be conducted as follows:

o Call for research proposals: The challenge starts with a call for proposals. Participants are invited to fill in a Google application form in English by 21 April 2024, 23:59 CET, encompassing their visionary ideas in 1,300 words.

o Shortlisting process: Following the submission phase, our experts will shortlist the top twelve (12) applications based on criteria including novelty, relevance, coherence, feasibility and potential positive impact on society. Shortlisted candidates will receive an invitation to the finale at NATO HQ to present their recommendations in person.

o WGS24 Finale: The finale will take place on Thursday 30 May 2024 at NATO HQ. Each participant will be allocated 10 minutes to present their idea, followed by a 5-minute Q&A session. The winners will be determined by a jury of STO experts.

o Award: The best three participants will be awarded with a trip to the NATO STO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) – a world-class scientific research and experimentation laboratory located in La Spezia, Italy.

Details

Website

Target audience

Digital skills for ICT professionals

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Software Engineering

Digital Skills

With the advent of artificial intelligence, teachers will be mentors rather than lecturers

By NEWS
With the advent of artificial intelligence, teachers will be mentors rather than lecturers

01.03.2024 |

With the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) into the sphere of education, teachers will rather be mentors than lecturers, commented Krasimir Stoev, a specialist in software technology training, who was a lecturer at a seminar for directors and teachers from Varna on how to work with Chat GPT, to the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA). The main organizer of the meeting was the Center for Creative Learning in partnership with the Regional Education Administration in the seaside city.

Artificial intelligence is an assistant – to both teachers and students, whether it is used for good or harm depends on the user, Stoev pointed out. According to him, the major fears that AI will take over the world are not justified, as it is not an autonomous entity and cannot provide unsolicited content. Teachers should encourage and guide the use of artificial intelligence so that students can receive the best, Stoev added. He clarified that a few days ago the Ministry of Education has issued guidelines to promote the use of AI in the educational system, which will be distributed to all directors and teachers. Stoev himself participated in the working group that developed the guidelines and specified that they envisage teachers using AI to generate content, create tasks, tests, as well as for their assessment. This will ease the enormous daily burden that prevents teachers from paying individual attention to their students, Stoev further said.

Asked how teachers will “catch” children if their homework is done by AI, especially in exact sciences, the expert indicated that it is necessary to change the method of assessment. In the new reality, approaches must change, and the goal of teachers should not be to see correctly solved tasks but properly developed skills because tasks are actually a means to enhance children’s expertise, Stoev pointed out. He was categorical that the modern digital generation should be provided with information in an adequate manner. Stoev added that as a teacher, he wanted AI to generate a lesson on biology about bees for him and received a narrative about how insects have a built-in GPS system and thus find hives, how they tag and like colors and aromas. Artificial intelligence uses words that are understandable and interesting to young people, and every teacher can take advantage of this, explained the expert. He added that AI capabilities can be used for every subject, including physical education and drawing.

According to Stoev, in the future, teachers will have the task of giving their students so-called soft skills – passing on experience, valuable advice, motivating and encouraging them, teaching them discipline. The expert’s position was that AI could be actively used by children after the 5th grade, by which time they should develop skills for debating and presenting their opinions with arguments. However, there are no obstacles for teachers to be good users of AI, even those in kindergartens, to generate games, Stoev concluded.

Details

Website

Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

HELLO SPACE | BULGARIA CALLING IS COMMING BACK!

By NEWS
HELLO SPACE | BULGARIA CALLING IS COMMING BACK!

01.03.2023 |

The fourth edition of the youth science festival “HELLO SPACE, Bulgaria Calling” returns on June 25 in Sofia Tech Park under the patronage of the Ministry of Education and Science. 

The festival maintains its focus on space exploration and STEAM fields and continues to be an inspiring educational event for children of all ages, their parents and teachers.

This year, HELLO SPACE will once again be filled with a variety of activities to spark imaginations and dreams of exploring the universe and beyond. We have prepared a myriad of amazing activities for young and old, including a live chat with a NASA astronaut, fascinating science workshops, interactive exhibitions, thought-provoking lectures and engaging demonstrations.

This year’s edition will also focus more on the A in STEAM, namely ARTS, with the programme featuring a host of artistic activities including virtual reality and image generation workshops through artificial intelligence, painting, exhibitions and much more. All this to open the eyes of Bulgaria’s children to art and aesthetics, which play a vital role in every field, including space science.

As we prepare for our fourth edition, we are aiming for an even more remarkable event that will bring together educators, industry professionals, scientific experts and most of all – the future generation of innovators, astronauts, Nobel laureates and dreamers!

Details

Website

www.digitalalliance.bg 

Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Cybersecurity

Digital Skills

Official address by the OECD Secretary General on the accession of Bulgaria

By NEWS
Official address by the OECD Secretary General on the accession of Bulgaria

22.02.2024 |

Matthias Cormann, OECD Secretary-General, addressed the OECD ACCESSION FORUM | SKILLS MATTER FOR BULGARIA, focusing on the critical role of skills development for the country’s economic future. Here’s a summary of the key points from his speech:

  • Growth and Integration: Over the past two decades, Bulgaria has seen steady economic growth and integration into global value chains, leading to increased per capita incomes from 30% of average OECD incomes in 2000 to over 50% today. This growth has been supported by stable macroeconomic conditions, healthy public finances, and a sound financial system.
  • Economic Convergence Slowing: Despite these achievements, economic convergence with more advanced economies has slowed, particularly since the global financial crisis. Developing and updating the skills of Bulgaria’s workforce is seen as essential to reversing this slowdown, boosting productivity, and fostering economic growth.
  • Skills and Labor Market Outcomes: Higher skills levels are associated with better labor market outcomes, including higher incomes, better health and well-being, and greater civic and social engagement. However, Bulgaria faces challenges such as a high percentage of students underperforming in key areas (38.3% in reading, mathematics, and science) compared to the OECD average of 16.4%.
  • Skills Action Plan: The OECD, in collaboration with the European Commission, is assisting Bulgaria in developing a Skills Action Plan. This plan aims to enhance young people’s and adults’ skills, ensure effective skills utilization, and improve the governance of the skills system. It will focus on improving education to work transitions, addressing the shortage of high-skilled workers, and enhancing digital skills among Bulgarians.
  • Addressing Labor Market Shifts: As the labor market evolves, particularly with digital transformation, there’s a need to equip workers with the skills to adapt. Bulgaria’s National Artificial Intelligence Strategy and the Skills Action Plan aim to strengthen related skills and support lifelong learning.
  • Utilizing Untapped Potential: With a shrinking working age population, Bulgaria must draw on untapped labor potential and retain talent. The plan includes incentives for job seekers, upskilling opportunities, and measures to encourage skilled immigration.
  • OECD Accession Process: Cormann highlighted the OECD accession process as a transformative journey for Bulgaria, aiming to develop a comprehensive reform agenda across various policy areas. This process is expected to lead to recommendations for improving standards and adopting best practices for sustainable growth.

In conclusion, investing in skills development is crucial for Bulgaria to match the current and future needs of employers, boost incomes, and ensure all Bulgarians can benefit from economic and societal opportunities.

Details

Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Digital Skills

The challenges facing the IT sector

By NEWS
The challenges facing the IT sector

15.02.2024 |

The IT sector in Bulgaria is preparing for a tough year. The software sector is entering a crisis after 15 years of constant high growth. So far there have been no mass layoffs, but the demand for new staff has decreased. Some companies have seen a drop in their expectations since the end of 2023. Are layoffs predicted and what can we expect from tech companies in our market this year? Bistra Papazova, member of the Board of BASSKOM told more details on the topic.

In her words, “crisis” is too strong a word for the situation. There is growth, but it’s just weaker compared to previous years. This is due to processes taking place all over the world.

“I wouldn’t say there is any reason for concern, but this is certainly a reason for rethinking in the IT sector in Bulgaria. We grew for many long years, enjoyed many customers and Western partners. This has led to a very large increase in our costs in the form of salaries. We have not been a cheap IT destination for a long time and this process is now just getting worse and we need to rethink what we actually offer as an industry,” Papazova said.

She noted that there are about 60,000 people employed in the sector, but there are also many IT professionals who are outside the sector. There are layoffs, but they are not massive. In addition, there has been a hiring freeze in companies, as well as less demand for specialists compared to previous years.

“These are normal economic processes. There is no such thing as ‘perpetual growth’ in the economy and we see this as a normal period of the economic cycle that we expect will pass. What we can do and what I mentioned is to position ourselves as a place of innovation, a place of very great expertise that is attractive to our international partners. We are competing with the whole world so we have to be aware of where we stand,” Papazova said. And added:

“My advice to all IT professionals is to emphasise their skills and their qualifications because qualified people are always in demand.”

 

Watch the full interview HERE.

Details

Website

Target audience

Digital skills for ICT professionals

Digital technology

Digital Skills

#22 Cyber Security Talks Bulgaria – Quantum Night

By NEWS
#22 Cyber Security Talks Bulgaria – Quantum Night

07.02.2024 |

Quantum computers are a technology we’ve been hearing about for years. The claims about the danger they pose to the modern cryptographic algorithms that currently support cyberspace are enough to chill the blood of any information security specialist. But do we know what quantum computing is and why it poses such a danger? When will the quantum era arrive, and will it bring the end of cryptography as we know it?

These are some of the questions that will be discussed at the next Cyber Security Talks Bulgaria – Quantum Night on February 13th.

Event schedule:

  • 18:30 – 19:00 – Registration Doors open at 18:30.
  • 19:00 – 19:05 – Opening
  • 19:05 – 19:15 – Keynote by Antivirus BG
  • 19:15 – 19:45 – What is quantum computing and why is it dangerous? Ivan Angelov – Software Developer and Quantum Computing Practitioner
  • 19:45 – 20:20 – Post-quantum cryptography and cybersecurity Eng. Yanko Spasov – IT and Information Security Consultant at “Antivirus BG” Ltd. Eng. Alexander Atanasov – General Manager, Lead Consultant at HEIC
  • 20:20 – 20:30 – Closing of the official part
  • 20:30 – 22:00 – Networking

Admission is free, but pre-registration is required.

Details

Website

Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital skills for ICT professionals

Digital technology

Cybersecurity

The best AI tools for education

By NEWS
The best AI tools for education

05.02.2024 |

Most of the discussions about artificial intelligence (AI) tools are often focused on business, but there is immense potential for AI to dramatically improve our educational systems. This is one of the most effective tools that teachers can have at their disposal, often relieving them of administrative burdens. These technologies will not replace teachers but rather allow them to allocate more time to student learning.

AI is rapidly growing in the education sector and is becoming a global billion-dollar market. This rapid growth is due to its ability to transform many aspects of teaching and learning processes. AI can create engaging virtual learning environments, generate “intelligent content,” alleviate language barriers, bridge gaps between learning and teaching, create specialized plans for each student, and much more.

Many innovative companies are creating AI tools to achieve these results. Let’s look at some of the best AI tools for education:

  1. Gradescope

What is Gradescope?

Gradescope’s AI tool allows students to evaluate each other while providing feedback simultaneously, which often consumes a lot of time without AI technology. Gradescope relies on a combination of machine learning (ML) and AI for easier grading, saving time and energy.

By outsourcing these tasks to external evaluators, teachers can focus on more important tasks. Gradescope can be used by teachers to grade paper exams and online assignments, as well as to prepare projects in one place.

Here are some key features of Gradescope:

  • AI-assisted and manually grouped questions
  • Time extensions specific to students
  • Grading with AI assistance
  • Improved efficiency and fairness
2.Fetchy

Fetchy is a generative AI-based platform created specifically for teachers. It empowers teachers to unleash their full teaching potential by simplifying and streamlining the myriad tasks they face, including creating engaging lessons, generating newsletters, crafting professional emails, and more. By harnessing the power of AI, Fetchy enables teachers to enhance their teaching methods, optimize time management, and make confident and informed decisions.

Fetchy specializes in personalizing generated language to meet teachers’ requirements without requiring them to formulate complex prompts. When using Fetchy’s personalized solutions, teachers can expect tailored results that align with their specific educational needs.

  • Generate lesson plans
  • Review history from multiple perspectives
  • Find mathematical or scientific experiments
  1. Nuance

Located in Burlington, Massachusetts, Nuance provides speech recognition software that can be used by both students and teachers. The company’s Dragon Speech Recognition product can transcribe up to 160 words per minute, aiding students who have difficulty writing or typing. The tool also supports verbal commands for document navigation, which is essential for students with accessibility needs.

Dragon offers many more features, including the ability to dictate lesson plans, curriculum, worksheets, reading lists, and more at speeds three times faster than typing, all while achieving 99% accuracy.

Here are some key features of Nuance’s Dragon:

  • Accessibility features supporting verbal commands
  • Voice assessment of students’ work
  • Dictate work in class with 99% accuracy

You can find the top 10 AI tools for education here.

Details

Website

Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital skills for ICT professionals

Digital skills in education

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Digital Skills

OECD FORUM | SKILLS MATTER FOR BULGARIA

By NEWS
OECD FORUM | SKILLS MATTER FOR BULGARIA

02.02.2024 |

Join us on February 20th, 2024, and watch live the pivotal “OECD FORUM” that marks a significant stride towards Bulgaria’s integration into the OECD – a testament to our nation’s commitment to excellence, innovation, and global collaboration.

As Bulgaria stands on the threshold of OECD accession, we are proud to present this groundbreaking event orchestrated in strategic partnership between Bulgaria and the OECD.

Why to watch?

 

  • Unparalleled Insight: Gain direct access to insights from ministers, senior OECD officials, esteemed business leaders, NGOs, and academic luminaries.
  • Future-Forward Discussions: Dive deep into the essential skills for the future, scrutinized against the backdrop of global megatrends such as demographic shifts, digital transformation, globalization, and climate change.
  • Strategic Collaboration: Witness the synergy between the Digital National Alliance, Bulgarian Diplomatic Institute, and various ministries and sectors, all converging to sculpt a unified approach to skill development.

 

OBJECTIVES

  • Identifying Skills Needs: To recognize current and future skills demands in Bulgaria, particularly in the context of global megatrends.
  • Strengthening Partnerships: To foster collaboration among government, businesses, educational institutions, and NGOs for cohesive skills development.

 

OUTCOMES

  • Increased Awareness on Bulgaria’s Skills Challenges and Opportunities: Enhanced understanding among the public, policymakers, and stakeholders about the critical role of skills in addressing demographic changes, digitalization, globalisation, and climate change. This awareness will emphasise the importance of adapting to technological advancements and evolving labour market demands, promoting a collective commitment to upskill and reskill the Bulgarian workforce.
  • Strengthened partnerships between various stakeholders for ongoing collaboration beyond the event.
Working language of the conference: BG/EN
In Collaboration With: Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Labor and Social Politics, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Innovation and Growth, and the Business Community.
Watch live HERE.
Details

Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Cybersecurity

Digital Skills

Innovation Explorer 2024

By NEWS
Innovation Explorer 2024

26.01.2024 |

For the tenth consecutive year, the annual international forum Innovation Explorer will be held in Sofiа!

 

The event is scheduled for 22nd February 2024 in John Atanasoff Hall of Sofia Tech Park. A futuristic walk through the history of Bulgarian entrepreneurship to the highest achievements in modern Bulgarian science and technology awaits you. Tickets with early registration price and reserved seats are now on sale at www.innovationexplorer.bg.

 

The organizers have planned a number of innovations in the conduct of the event itself. This year’s forum will be in a marathon event format – from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. Three stages are planned in the same hall: the stage of the past (left), the stage of the present (front) and the stage of the future (right), and the audience chairs will automatically turn to each stage when there is a speaker on it.
Find more about the speakers and AGENDA here.
Among the most important topics in the 2024 programme, the one on the development of artificial intelligence will take its place and for the first time in Bulgaria we will see DeepMind, Antrophic and OpenAI on the same stage. The panel discussions will also present the topics of innovative public policies, innovative institutions, industries and professions of the future, etc.
Details

Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Software engineering

Digital skills

Career Show | Spring 2024

By NEWS
Career Show | Spring 2024

25.01.2024 |

New year, new job!

 

Career Show is back with the first event of the year that will open hundreds of new opportunities for a more successful career! ✨

Career Show – Spring will be held entirely online on March 28 and 29!
Book these two days because they could be the start of exciting new ventures!

What to expect:

  • The leading career expo entirely online
  • Opportunity to join in from anywhere in the world
  • 15-minute video meetings with top employers
  • A program of interesting topics from expert speakers
  • All in one platform, one click away

Learn more and register:
🔎 More about the event: https://careershow.bg/spring
💻 Quick and completely free registration: https://careershow.bg/register

Details

Target audience

Digital skills in education

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Cybersecurity

Software Engineering

Digital Skills

Bulgarian chatbot platform with AI is launched on March 3

By NEWS
Bulgarian chatbot platform with AI is launched on March 3

25.01.2024 |

ChatGPT, the globally renowned artificial intelligence chatbot platform, will soon have its Bulgarian counterpart. The entirely Bulgarian program, which is essentially the first open artificial intelligence in Bulgarian, was developed by specialists from the INSAIT research institute at Sofia University.

The program will be called BgGPT and will symbolically start working on our national holiday on March 3. This was announced by the institute at a special event in Sofia Tech Park, which was attended by Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov, Education Minister Galin Tsokov, prof. Martin Vechev, Scientific Director of INSAIT and Eng. Borislav Petrov, Executive Director of INSAIT. Official guests of the event were prof. Georgi Valchev, Rector of Sofia University “St. Rolf Ott, Chargé d’Affaires of the Swiss Confederation in Sofia.

Bulgaria is one of the few countries that develops its own similar platform in its own language, and which information stays in our country and does not depend on foreign corporations, thus showing that we can be a technological leader and not just a consumer noted prof. Martin Vechev, Scientific Director of INSAIT.

The platform will be completely open and free and is based on more than 3 billion words and phrases, with much more to come. In the beginning, priority for its use will be given to scientific and public organizations, which can sign up in advance to use it before the official release date of 3 March.

Details

Website

Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

ACADEMY FOR INNOVATION 2024

By NEWS
ACADEMY FOR INNOVATION 2024

24.01.2023 |

The 11th edition of the Innovation Academy is coming up!

 

ABOUT THE PROJECT

The largest public-private educational partnership in the country between organizations from the private, academic, public, and NGO sectors will once again award the most innovative youth projects. The project is dedicated to the development of entrepreneurial skills in students and financing their first business ideas. In 2024, it will be carried out for the eleventh consecutive year in the form of a hackathon, where Bulgarian students will shape their first business projects and develop prototypes of their ideas.

Goal

The main goal of the Innovation Academy is to become an extended center for shared knowledge among universities in Bulgaria, following the model of the innovation centers of the Ivy League universities.

Historically, the project started in 2014 in partnership with one university in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, and by 2024, it is already being conducted on a national scale, in partnership with over 15 universities and training centers and 50 partners.

The project is realized with the support of the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria.

Structure

The project is divided into 3 main modules – 1/ mentorship, 2/ lectures, 3/ presentation of ideas.

The event is free for students from all over the country, but pre-registration HERE is required.

Additional information can be found on the official website of the Innovation Academy.

 

Details

Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital skills in education

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Digital Skills

Unleashing the Future of Tech: The First International Olympiad in Artificial Intelligence 2024 in Bulgaria

By NEWS
Unleashing the Future of Tech: The First International Olympiad in Artificial Intelligence 2024 in Bulgaria

16.01.2024 |

In the bustling city of Burgas, Bulgaria, from August 9th to 15th, 2024, history will be made with the launch of the first-ever International Olympiad in Artificial Intelligence (IOAI). This prestigious event is set to gather the brightest young minds in high school, all burning with a passion for the rapidly evolving world of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The IOAI aims to kindle this fervor and challenge these young innovators to push the boundaries of AI, shaping them into the next generation of pioneers and problem solvers.

A Unique Format: Beyond Right Answers

The IOAI distinguishes itself with a unique format, encompassing two rounds: a scientific round and a practical round. These rounds don’t just seek ‘the correct answer’ but focus on conclusion-oriented solutions. Participants will engage in designing experiments, drawing conclusions about AI’s capabilities and limitations, thereby mirroring the real-world scientific process.

The Scientific Round: A Test of Skills and Knowledge

In the scientific round, teams receive problems based on recent AI research 2 to 4 weeks before the IOAI. They must submit their solutions as working code and model outputs in Google Colab notebooks, utilizing Python. This round evaluates their basic coding skills and understanding of machine learning fundamentals. What’s unique is the “battle style” presentation at the IOAI, where teams defend their solutions against challenges from opponents, engaging in a dynamic scientific discourse.

The Practical Round: Hands-On with AI Software

The practical round, conducted entirely on-site, acquaints students with popular AI software like ChatGPT, Dalle-2, and others. This round requires teams to analyze and explain AI behavior without the need for coding. It’s a rare opportunity for students to interact with cutting-edge AI in real-time, offering insights into the practical applications of AI technology.

What IOAI Promises: Collaboration, Challenge, and Innovation

The IOAI is more than a competition; it’s a journey into the depths of AI. Participants can expect to face mind-bending challenges, collaborate with peers from around the globe, and explore their potential in this dynamic field. It’s a platform for those who dream of shaping the future with AI-driven solutions or those who wish to test their skills on a global stage.

Bulgaria: A Tradition of Hosting Olympiads

Bulgaria, known for hosting the first editions of several international Olympiads, adds the IOAI to its legacy. The choice of Burgas, a city on the Black Sea coast, as the venue, aligns with Bulgaria’s long-standing tradition of fostering intellectual competitions.

Embark on an AI Adventure

The IOAI is not just an event; it’s the beginning of a global movement in the field of AI. This Olympiad is a call to the world’s young innovators to come together, share ideas, and drive forward the future of technology. As we gear up for this groundbreaking event, the anticipation and excitement are palpable. The IOAI 2024 in Bulgaria is set to be a milestone in the journey of AI and a beacon for the young minds leading its charge.

Timeline of the  IOAI and additional details HERE.

Details

Target audience

Digital skills in education

Digital skills for children

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Digital Skills

MentAlly

By NEWS
MentAlly

20.12.2023 |

The MentAlly team earned third place in the AI&I FACTORY /// Challenge 2.0 @Plovdiv with an innovative approach to mental health.

 

During the educational hackathon held for the first time in Plovdiv, the MentAlly team stood out with their project, deserving third place amid strong competition from young entrepreneurs. Their project involves a cascading technical solution, including the creation of an API and ChatBot, aimed at supporting mental health through the selection of suitable foods and activities.

Focusing on the significant link between diet and mental well-being, MentAlly offers a unique solution that combines the latest artificial intelligence technologies and an extensive database specifically targeted at Bulgarian users. Their platform is ideal for developers seeking reliable information and for end-users such as pregnant women, mothers, teenagers, and adults who want to improve their mental health through balanced diet and activities.

MentAlly stands out with its innovation, offering not just a technological solution but also a deep understanding of the importance of diet in the context of mental health. Their approach to “you are what you eat” is not just a slogan, but a real practice that transforms food into a tool for improving mental well-being. This places MentAlly at the forefront of digital healthcare and strengthens Bulgaria’s position as an innovation center in the field of health technologies.

“AI & I FACTORY,” a joint initiative by Digital National Alliance and AI Cluster Bulgaria, recently concluded its “AI & I FACTORY CHALLENGE 2.0” in Plovdiv, marking another successful phase in its mission to expand public understanding and practical application of artificial intelligence (AI).

This project, part of a series of educational and innovative endeavors, focuses on inspiring technological experiments and inclusion, specifically targeting women and young talents in the technology and AI sectors.

The “Challenge 2.0” in Plovdiv was an intensive two-week program that gathered participants from various universities. These emerging talents delved into entrepreneurship, developing AI-based solutions with guidance from mentors and experts in fields such as business development, design thinking, software engineering, and cybersecurity.

Details

Website

www.digitalalliance.bg 

Target audience

Digital skills in education

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Digital Skills

RibbonsHub

By NEWS
RibbonsHub

20.12.2023 |

In the latest edition of AI & I FACTORY, the RibbonsHub project deservedly took an impressive second place. This innovative startup idea, developed by a team of students, addresses the vital issue of health awareness and diagnostics in Bulgaria by introducing a pioneering platform for the collection and analysis of anonymized data. The collected data will serve both medical centers and individual patients.

RibbonsHub is a prime example of the hackathon’s focus, namely the application of artificial intelligence to improve public welfare.

We congratulate the talented RibbonsHub team and wish them great success in their cause-driven entrepreneurship journey.

“AI & I FACTORY,” a joint initiative by Digital National Alliance and AI Cluster Bulgaria, recently concluded its “AI & I FACTORY CHALLENGE 2.0” in Plovdiv, marking another successful phase in its mission to expand public understanding and practical application of artificial intelligence (AI).

This project, part of a series of educational and innovative endeavors, focuses on inspiring technological experiments and inclusion, specifically targeting women and young talents in the technology and AI sectors.

The “Challenge 2.0” in Plovdiv was an intensive two-week program that gathered participants from various universities. These emerging talents delved into entrepreneurship, developing AI-based solutions with guidance from mentors and experts in fields such as business development, design thinking, software engineering, and cybersecurity.

 

Details

Website

www.digitalalliance.bg 

Target audience

Digital skills in education

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Digital Skills

National Conference “Digital Skills for the Digital Decade”

By NEWS
National Conference "Digital Skills for the Digital Decade"

20.11.2023 |

On December 7, 2023, at the 2020 Event Space, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy organized the National Conference on “Digital Skills for the Digital Decade” during the European Year of Skills. The main goal of the forum is to provoke discussion among national and European institutions, employers and industry organizations, unions, the academic community, and youth organizations on the topic of digital transformation.

 

The focus of the conference is on individuals – their ability to adapt to changes in the labor market and the necessity of training to acquire or upgrade digital skills needed for professional realization.

 

You can find the AGENDA HERE

The conference is free to attend!

Reasons to attend:

  • To learn about labor market trends.
  • To discover opportunities for free training.
  • To participate in the discussion on digital transformation
Details

Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital skills for ICT professionals

Digital skills in education

Digital skills for public administration

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Cybersecurity

Digital skills

SGJ: HACKATHON 2023

By NEWS
SGJ: HACKATHON 2023

20.11.2023 |

Join Sofia Game Jam 2023 for a weekend filled with creativity and fun, where students, game developers, and enthusiasts gather to create awesome games.

The hackathon is the annual 48-hour game jam aimed at bringing together people passionate about game development – from students to industry veterans, independent companies, gamers, and other enthusiasts – to create games, enhance their skills, and strengthen friendships.

 

At SGJ: HACKATHON 2023, you will be able to:

  • Create – Work in teams to design, develop, test, and create new games around a central theme that will be revealed at the beginning of the event.
  • Experiment – Explore new technological tools, try different roles in development, and test your skills.
  • Connect – Engage with the game developer community, build friendships, and get opportunities to learn from people with similar interests.

Additional information and tickets can be found at www.sofiagamejam.com.

Details

Target audience

Digital skills for ICT professionals

Digital skills in education

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Software engineering

Digital skills

IBM TechXchange Bulgaria

By NEWS
IBM TechXchange Bulgaria

17.11.2023 |

21.11.2023 – 23.11.2023

TechXchange is a cutting-edge, three-day gathering of technology innovators and enthusiasts.

 

Join the event for an insightful exploration of the latest advancements in technology where you’ll:

Gain insights from industry experts, deepening your understanding of Data and AI, Automation, Security, Sustainability, Cloud, Infrastructure and Quantum

Participate in hands-on workshops to refine your skills and learn practical tips.

Network with fellow technical professionals, fostering valuable connections.

Stay up-to-date with the latest trends and innovations in IBM Software and Hardware Products

Find more about the opening key notes speakers and the agenda HERE

REGISTER

Details

Website

Target audience

Digital skills for ICT professionals

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Software engineering

Digital skills

The second edition of AI & I FACTORY: Challenge 2.0 has started

By NEWS
The second edition of AI & I FACTORY: Challenge 2.0 has started

15.11.2023 |

The second edition of AI & I FACTORY: Challenge 2.0 is already in full swing after an exciting opening in Plovdiv.

The educational initiative, organized by the Digital National Alliance and AI Cluster Bulgaria, in partnership with the America for Bulgaria Foundation, aims to meet the leaders of tomorrow with the startup culture and the vast possibilities of artificial intelligence.

For two weeks, participants from different universities in Plovdiv will dive into the world of entrepreneurship, creating their own AI-based solutions with the help of mentors, experts in areas such as business development, design thinking, software engineering, cybersecurity and more.

The thematic areas in which students will work are:

  • Health and Life Sciences
  • Food technology
  • Agriculture
  • Industrial systems

Six teams have accepted the challenge and on 27 November in Plovdiv will face an expert jury, presenting their start-up ideas. Join us at NETWORKING Premium Coworking Spaces (PLOVDIV) for an entrepreneurial evening show.

Details

Target audience

Digital skills in education

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Software engineering

Digital skills

Powers Summit 2023: “Building Bulgaria’s Future through Collective Intelligence and Dialogue”

By NEWS
Powers Summit 2023: "Building Bulgaria's Future through Collective Intelligence and Dialogue"

08.11.2023 |

The third edition of Powers Summit took place on November 7, 2023, at Sofia Tech Park. It gathered leaders of parliamentary political groups and their teams, along with executive government representatives, to find real-time solutions to key issues in dialogue with industry, civil society, and academia.

For the first time, the Powers Summit began with new “Prime Minister’s Session” and “Ministerial Sessions,” featuring the Prime Minister, Acad. Denkov, followed by the participation of the Finance Minister Asen Vassilev and ministers of energy, economy, education, healthcare, agriculture, and other high-ranking government officials.

This year’s “Bulgarian Davos” focused on healthcare, energy, sustainable development, and Brand Bulgaria – entrepreneurship, investments, and education.

Key priorities presented by industry organizations to the authorities can be found here.

The closing of Powers Summit 2023 was done by Vasil Terziev, who discussed Sofia 2027 with Dr. Plamen Russev, sharing his vision of the capital after the end of his first term.

In response to what he wants the brand of Sofia to be in four years, Mr. Terziev said that Sofia would become a city of great opportunities, a foundation for realizing dreams, and a beautiful environment for everyone to live and develop.

Watch the entire recorded program, divided by panels.

Powers Summit is co-organized by Webit Foundation and Digital National Coalition in partnership with all major representative organizations in Bulgaria’s industry, employers’ organizations, industry chambers, think tanks, and NGOs. Powers Summit has the media support of all leading media in the country. Strategic media partner – Nova TV

Details

Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Cybersecurity

Digital skills

AI & I FACTORY /// CHALLANGE 2.0 @PLOVDIV

By NEWS
AI & I FACTORY /// CHALLANGE 2.0 @PLOVDIV

07.11.2023 |

GENERAL CONCEPT

AI & I FACTORY is a pioneering joint initiative led by the Digital National Alliance in collaboration with AI Cluster Bulgaria. The main goal of the project is to deepen society’s understanding of the key role and transformational potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in everyday life. It aims to inspire experimentation in the technology sphere while actively promoting inclusion, attracting more women and young talents to embark on enriching journeys in the technology and AI sectors.

The initiative serves as a hub where experts, scholars, and budding talents from various fields gather. Through an interesting spectrum of activities, including educational seminars, workshops, hackathons, training camps, and networking events, AI & I FACTORY creates an environment for in-depth research and collaborative learning.

Our focus is on educating a generation of innovative minds, prepared to manage the course of tomorrow’s technological landscape. Furthermore, we are committed to promoting a technology industry that supports diversity and gender inclusion, ensuring a balanced and vibrant AI ecosystem.

CHALLENGE 2.0 @Plovdiv | 13-27 November 2023

A two-week free hybrid educational program that brings together students from various universities in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, to explore, practice, and work collaboratively under the guidance of experts from the business and industry to develop AI-based solutions to predefined challenges.

Key Dates

– 10 November – Registration form closure

– 13 November – Opening ceremony

– 14 November – Visit to technical laboratories

– 15-26 November – Hackathon (online)

– 27 November – Personal presentation (pitching) and award ceremony

 

More information and registration at https://linktr.ee/challenges.aifactory

Participation is completely free.

Details

Target audience

Digital skills in education

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Software engineering

Digital skills

DO COMPANIES TRUST WHITE HAT HACKERS?

By NEWS
DO COMPANIES TRUST WHITE HAT HACKERS?

20.10.2023 |

60% of white hackers view hacking as a career, and 61% are involved in learning and developing hacking tools with generative AI

 

A new report from HackerOne reveals that enterprises still view white-hat hackers with suspicion, even though they play a vital role in ensuring cyber security. The report states that 52% of cybersecurity professionals would rather accept the existence of undiscovered vulnerabilities than work with hackers. Furthermore, 60% of professionals believe that ethical hackers cannot be fully trusted. The lack of a clear channel for organizations to disclose vulnerabilities is cited as a major reason why hackers do not report the vulnerabilities they discover.

However, companies that follow best practices for disclosing security flaws benefit from collaborating with white hat hackers. Three-quarters of HackerOne customers say hackers have helped them avoid significant cybersecurity incidents. With the average cost of a data breach reaching $4.45 million, accepting the existence of vulnerabilities and allowing ethical hackers to test systems can build trust with customers and stakeholders and reduce the likelihood of costly security breaches.

Despite the challenges, hacking as a profession continues to gain popularity. The report states that 60% of hackers consider hacking a career, up from 41% the previous year. Additionally, 61% are involved in learning and developing hacking tools with generative artificial intelligence to more effectively uncover vulnerabilities.

Chris Evans, chief information security officer at HackerOne, says that while cybercriminals are causing significant damage, the majority of individuals engaging in hacking are law-abiding citizens seeking to make the Internet safer and earn a living. It is critical for organizations to overcome the stigma associated with hackers and provide clear channels for disclosing vulnerabilities. This will enable collaboration between white-hat hackers and companies, leading to improved cybersecurity measures.

In conclusion, despite the growing risks in the digital space, enterprises still view white hat hackers with suspicion. The lack of trust between organisations and hackers prevents companies from obtaining important information and exposes them to more risks. However, companies that follow vulnerability disclosure best practices benefit from collaborating with ethical hackers. Hacking as a profession continues to evolve, with hackers dedicating themselves to further developing their skills. It is essential that organisations bridge the trust gap and establish clear channels for vulnerability disclosure to improve cyber security measures overall.

Details

Website

Target audience

Digital skills for the workforce

Digital technology

Cybersecurity

HALF OF TODAY’S JOB SKILLS WILL NOT BE RELEVANT IN JUST 2 YEARS

By NEWS
HALF OF TODAY'S JOB SKILLS WILL NOT BE RELEVANT IN JUST 2 YEARS

19.10.2023 |

Many companies claim to be using AI, but most are still in the early stages of deployment

 

According to a recent study conducted by edX, nearly half of the skills that today’s employees possess will not be relevant in just two years. This prediction is based on the opinions of 800 managers and 800 employees. The executives surveyed believe that 49% of the skills their managed employees currently possess will be obsolete by 2025. Additionally, 47% of these executives do not believe their employees are sufficiently prepared for the future workplace.

This finding isn’t surprising from an education platform provider, but what stands out is the short time horizon for skills obsolescence. Executives participating in the survey also believe that over the next five years, more than half (56%) of core knowledge worker roles will be eliminated due to the rapid adoption of artificial intelligence.

According to the survey, 79% of executives believe entry-level jobs will cease to exist as AI technology creates new roles for employees. Additionally, 56% of respondents believe their own jobs will be fully or partially replaced by AI. However, some industry leaders are skeptical of these predictions, suggesting that the immediate impact of AI on career goals will be minimal.

Richard Jefts, CEO at HCL Software, believes AI will redefine jobs and career prospects, but the exact impact on employees and their duties is uncertain. Frederico Braga, head of digital at Debiopharm, adds that it is difficult to predict when and where this shift will occur. The full impact of AI on the workforce remains to be seen, with opinions varying on the extent of its impact.

Details

Website

Target audience

Digital skills for the workforce

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Basic digital skills

FINDING A TECH JOB IS STILL A NIGHTMARE

By NEWS
FINDING A TECH JOB IS STILL A NIGHTMARE

18.10.2023 |

Tech companies have laid off more than 400,000 people in the past two years. Competition for the jobs that remain is getting more and more desperate.

 

The tech industry has experienced a significant downturn in the past year, with over 400,000 job losses reported in 2022 and 2023, according to Layoffs.fyi. This has created a challenging job market for tech professionals, who are now competing for fewer positions with lower wages and limited opportunities for promotion. The IT sector has lost about 2.5% of its jobs in the past year, leading to increased job insecurity and longer tenures in current roles.

Major tech companies, including Meta, Google, and Amazon, have implemented extensive job cuts and hiring freezes. Although some laid-off workers have been rehired, such cases are rare and do not significantly offset the overall job losses. The layoffs are a consequence of the rapid growth experienced in 2020, when companies hired more employees than they could sustain.

The continuous decline in the tech job market has sparked anxiety among job seekers, prompting them to be more assertive in their search. This was evident at the Grace Hopper Celebration, an annual conference and career fair for women and nonbinary tech workers, where men flocked to the job fair in large numbers. The desperation to secure employment was palpable, with attendees running to the fair while being urged to slow down by event staff.

The tough job market has taken a toll on individuals like Carrie Groszewski, a computer science and economics student at Vanderbilt University. Despite following the recommended advice to gain experience through personal projects, internships, and club involvement, Groszewski feels discouraged as she approaches graduation without a job offer. Similarly, Nia McSwain, who hopes to transition from the hospitality sector to technology as a project manager, spends hours each day applying for approximately 40 positions. Although their efforts yield some interviews, securing a role remains challenging.

Tech professionals like full stack engineer Philip John Basil have been actively networking through platforms like LinkedIn and Discord in hopes of securing a contract. While he has had numerous interviews, he has yet to secure a position. The highly competitive job market has heightened job seekers’ determination and reliance on networking to increase their chances of finding employment.

Overall, the tech industry is facing a difficult job market characterized by job losses, hiring freezes, and increased competition for fewer positions. Job seekers are grappling with longer tenures in current roles, limited promotion opportunities, and lower wages in certain sectors. The desperation to secure employment has been evident at career fairs and conferences, with individuals going to great lengths to stand out among the competition. Despite their efforts, many remain discouraged and uncertain about their future in the industry.

Details

Website

Target audience

Digital skills for the workforce

Digital technology

Basic Digital Skills

FILMS AS THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF DIGITAL HUMANISM: ARS Kino’s good practice

By NEWS
FILMS AS THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF DIGITAL HUMANISM: ARS Kino's good practice

17.10.2023 |

Films, with their captivating narratives and compelling characters, have always been a powerful medium for teaching important life lessons. However, the significance of cinema extends far beyond mere entertainment. Films are, in fact, potent vehicles for imparting foundational societal values, especially in an age where digital technology has become an integral part of our lives. ARS Kino, a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of film education for children, understands the immense potential of cinema in teaching youngsters the values that underpin digital humanism. In a remarkable journey to the Giffoni Macedonia Youth Film Festival, ARS Kino continued its mission of using film as a tool for nurturing the hearts and minds of young individuals.

For the sixth consecutive year, ARS Kino had the privilege of participating in the Giffoni Macedonia Youth Film Festival, a celebration of the magic that cinema weaves in the minds of children and young people. The festival, known for its dedication to promoting cultural growth and multicultural communication, provided the perfect platform for ARS Kino to showcase the profound impact of films on the development of children and youth.

Stephanie Velichkova, the Chairperson of ARS Kino, played a pivotal role in the festival. She engaged in an in-depth conversation within the EPYC Project, an initiative focused on interactive education and the use of film as a tool to teach values. Stephanie emphasized the significance of fostering emotional intelligence, compassion, creativity, love, and peace through the medium of cinema. Her insights shed light on how films can serve as a vehicle to instill these values in young minds, creating a generation of emotionally intelligent and open-hearted citizens.

But ARS Kino’s involvement didn’t stop there. They had the honor of selecting two remarkable children over the age of 16 to join the international jury at the festival. This unique opportunity allowed these young participants to be warmly welcomed by local families and engage in an incredible cultural exchange. Such experiences go a long way in promoting cross-cultural understanding, breaking down barriers, and fostering friendships that transcend borders.

ARS Kino’s belief in the vital role of cinema in the cultural growth of children and youth is underlined by their mission: to enable young individuals to critically appreciate film art and embrace it as a direct path to becoming emotionally intelligent, open, and peaceful citizens of the world. The Giffoni Macedonia Youth Film Festival aligns perfectly with this mission, making it an essential part of ARS Kino’s annual calendar.

The heart of this journey lies in the recognition of films as powerful vehicles for teaching youngsters the foundational societal values that underpin digital humanism. Through compelling narratives and relatable characters, films offer an engaging and accessible platform for imparting values that are crucial for navigating the digital age responsibly and ethically.

Here are some of the key societal values central to digital humanism that are effectively conveyed through cinema:

  1. Respect for Others: Films illustrate the importance of treating others with respect, both in physical and digital spaces. Characters who display empathy, kindness, and consideration in their online interactions serve as role models for youngsters, illustrating the value of respectful communication and behavior.
  2. Privacy and Consent: Youngsters learn about the fundamental rights of privacy and informed consent as they watch characters grapple with issues of personal data, surveillance, and boundaries. These narratives emphasize the significance of respecting individuals’ privacy and obtaining consent before sharing personal information.
  3. Inclusivity and Diversity: Films celebrate diversity and inclusivity, teaching youngsters to appreciate the richness of different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. These stories promote the idea that digital spaces should be welcoming and respectful of all, fostering a sense of belonging and unity.
  4. Responsibility and Accountability: Characters in films often face the consequences of their actions, whether in the physical or digital world. These stories underscore the importance of taking responsibility for one’s behavior and understanding that digital actions can have real-world implications.
  5. Critical Thinking and Digital Literacy: Films can inspire critical thinking by showcasing characters who use their intellect and digital literacy to decipher fact from fiction, identify misinformation, and make informed decisions online. This encourages youngsters to develop their analytical skills and become discerning consumers of digital content.
  6. Social Justice and Activism: Movies featuring young activists using digital platforms for social justice causes demonstrate the potential for digital tools to effect positive change. These narratives inspire youngsters to become engaged citizens who use technology to advocate for equality and justice.
  7. Mental and Emotional Well-Being: Films shed light on the importance of digital well-being and balance in the digital age. Characters who grapple with the consequences of digital addiction or unhealthy online behavior encourage youngsters to prioritize their mental and emotional well-being while navigating the digital landscape.

In summary, films offer a captivating and relatable way for youngsters to absorb and internalize the societal values that serve as the foundation of digital humanism. These values, when learned through the cinematic medium, help shape young minds to become responsible, empathetic, and ethical digital citizens who contribute positively to the digital world while respecting human dignity and well-being.

ARS Kino’s participation in the Giffoni Macedonia Youth Film Festival underscores the organization’s dedication to this mission. They believe that by promoting the values of digital humanism through cinema, they are not only nurturing the cultural growth of children and youth but also fostering a generation of responsible, compassionate, and empathetic citizens who will positively influence the digital world. Through their tireless efforts, ARS Kino continues to pave the way for a brighter and more harmonious future, where the magic of cinema becomes a guiding light for the next generation.

Details

Website

Target audience

Digital skills for children

Digital technology

Basic digital skills

COHERENT SOLUTIONS’ INNOVATIVE SUMMER SCHOOL FOR TEENS GOES GLOBAL

By NEWS
COHERENT SOLUTIONS' INNOVATIVE SUMMER SCHOOL FOR TEENS GOES GLOBAL

15.10.2023 |

Java is becoming an increasingly common language among the younger generation. But it is not the easiest to learn. Coherent Solutions has a solution.

 

Coherent Solutions is an international organisation with a long tradition in the IT sector. Among them is the Java summer school for teenagers. This innovative initiative is designed for the children of the company’s working experts and aims to encourage the discovery of young talent with an affinity for IT sciences. The school not only reflects Coherent Solutions’ dedication to supporting the next generation of technology enthusiasts, but also demonstrates the company’s pioneering spirit in creating opportunities that extend far beyond the corporate landscape.

The genesis of the idea

Seven years ago, employees at Coherent Solutions in Belarus were thinking about how to support their children and introduce them to the IT industry. This is how the idea of a summer school was born, where children are introduced to programming and the work of a programmer. Initially, the summer school was organized only in Belarus and included training in .NET, Front-end and Java.

This year, however, the summer school will be global and include children from more than one country. Besides the children, even the professional programmers from Coherent Solutions are showing interest and support for the initiative. Each year a survey is conducted to gauge the opinions of parents and children, which helps to continuously develop and improve the summer school program. The reception and growth in the number of participants each year has been particularly admirable.

The main objective

Coherent Solutions’ courses are designed for teenagers aged 14 to 17 and aim to introduce them to the programming profession. Participants learn about the industry and have the opportunity to start a career at Coherent Solutions as an intern or junior programmer. The course includes individual assignments that gradually progress to team projects, offering valuable experience in collaborative code writing and teamwork.

Furthermore, the main priority is to achieve a career orientation for the children and create mutual understanding. The long-term goal of Coherent Solutions is to promote the IT industry and educate a new generation of technology professionals, which in turn leads to a more sustainable development of the company.

The future is global

The future edition of this initiative is called “Global Summer School” and will now cover even more technologies and programming languages. Publications related to .NET, front-end, databases, algorithms and more are planned. Each year the focus will be different, and the trainings will be held in both English and Russian.

“In the coming years we plan to continue with this initiative and launch similar schools in different areas. It is important to give young people the opportunity to try out different programming languages and related technologies. It is strategically important for us to keep the young generation interested in learning and development,” concludes Oleg.

Details

Website

Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital technology

Basic Digital Skills

WHAT IS THE NEW FACE OF DESIGN SYSTEMS?

By NEWS
WHAT IS THE NEW FACE OF DESIGN SYSTEMS?

14.10.2023 |

Companies are looking for solutions that guarantee speed, efficiency and automation, especially in CAD/CAM areas.

 

Technological trends

Three key trends are emerging in design software. The first is the use of cloud services that enhance collaboration and allow access from any device and location. These services provide large computational and storage capacity, enabling complex and large-scale simulations and tests.

The second trend is the introduction of additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3D printing, which enables the creation of complex and customised products. This process greatly accelerates the testing and validation of design and simulation results through rapid prototyping.

Finally, artificial intelligence and machine learning are key new directions in the development of the CAD/CAM/CAE sector. These technologies automate and optimize design and simulation tasks, helping to generate design alternatives, detect errors and improve product performance and quality.

 

The Bulgarian CAD/CAM market

In recent times, Bulgaria has seen an increase in the use of design solutions, affecting various sectors such as manufacturing, construction, medicine and dentistry. CAD systems play an important role in this as they make work easier, increase productivity and help reduce errors.

There are companies such as CAD Point, Ditra, David Holding, SpaceCAD and Persy that offer design solutions. The Digitalk 101 rankings show the last two years’ results of these companies. Although organisations in the sector are growing, they are not usually among the largest IT companies in Bulgaria and occupy positions in the second half of the ranking.

SpaceCAD and David Holding are two of the companies reporting the largest year-on-year increase in revenue. SpaceCAD has revenues of BGN 2.9 million and ranks 104th in the ranking, while David Holding ranks 101st with revenues of BGN 4.3 million.

Especially with the rapid growth of both the CAD/CAM and generative AI fields, more and more positions are opening up for designers. The rapid automation of workflow makes computer-assisted design one of the most attractive fields for workers.

Details

Target audience

Digital skills for the workforce

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

CAD/CAM

COMPANIES CONTINUE TO HIRE, BUT DEMAND FOR WORKERS SLOWS

By NEWS
COMPANIES CONTINUE TO HIRE, BUT DEMAND FOR WORKERS SLOWS

13.10.2023 |

More companies will expand their teams in the next six months, according to a survey by the Bulgarian Employment Confederation

 

According to a survey by the Bulgarian Confederation of Labour (BCL), companies in Bulgaria will continue to hire additional people over the next six months, despite weaker demand for labour. All sectors will need more people, but IT firms will see the strongest demand. Employers are finding it increasingly difficult to find employees with the skills they need.

The labour market is forecast to remain stable over the next six months, with more firms planning to hire than those planning to downsize. The survey shows that the IT sector is expected to see the strongest employment growth, but is down 4% on the previous period. The hospitality sector had the largest decline, but employment growth expectations exceeded those for a decline there as well. Sofia has the largest projected growth in new hires, but also the largest decline from the previous survey.

In general, employment expectations are better in the transport, financial services and public sectors, as well as in the extractive industries.

Employers in Bulgaria are facing difficulties in finding qualified employees, while at the same time they are less willing to meet workers’ expectations for pay and development opportunities, according to a survey by the Bulgarian Confederation of Employers and Industrialists (BCZ). This calls for companies to look at their mandatory skills requirements and be prepared to train their employees on the job.

Due to the mismatch between supply and demand for skilled workers, many employers consider hiring foreign workers as an opportunity. About 57% of employers are willing to hire foreign workers if the procedure is easier and faster. At the same time, more than 140 thousand unemployed are registered in the labour offices, which requires structural changes and a thorough understanding of the reasons for the inactivity of these people.

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Basic Digital Skills

WHAT WILL BE THE TOP TECHNOLOGY TRENDS IN 2024 ACCORDING TO CCS INSIGHT

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WHAT WILL BE THE TOP TECHNOLOGY TRENDS IN 2024 ACCORDING TO CCS INSIGHT

12.10.2023 |

This year’s research team focuses on personalised experiences, artificial intelligence, sustainability and the impact of regulations

 

This week, CCS Insight released its latest report, which presents 85 predictions for upcoming trends in the technology industry. The report covers advancements that will evolve to and beyond 2024. For this year, the research group focuses on personalized interactions, artificial intelligence, sustainability, and regulatory effects. They emphasized critical technologies such as machine learning, cloud computing, augmented reality, circular economy, connected gadgets and virtual environments.

Predictions for the evolution of innovation in the coming year were presented at several key points. One of the main ones is the fact that the popularity of the technology will cool due to the reality of the cost, risk and complexity of deployment. A limiting factor for innovation adoption is cost, which is a challenge for many organizations and developers. In the future, regulations, social and commercial risks will require periods of evaluating generative AI before it is fully deployed.

The forecast for the future of the iPhone shows that by the end of 2023, over half of iPhone models will be second-hand devices and the average lifespan of an iPhone device will increase to 8 years by 2024. This will have an impact on new device sales and Apple is trying to take more control of the second-hand iPhone market by introducing a rating system.

EU legislation on artificial intelligence (AI Act) has been delayed repeatedly due to rapid advances in innovation. Future legislation may be self-regulating before it is finalised. Europe is taking a methodical approach to regulation, with the US preferring a more flexible approach. At the same time, Google is working on improving the Android ecosystem by making greater investments in hardware, software and distribution.

The application of AI is predicted to help many European companies by 2030, which could lead to experimentation with a shorter workweek. Also, smartphones with self-healing displays are predicted to be available in five years. These displays can repair scratches and dents themselves thanks to a special material that reacts when exposed to air. Also, the use of satellite smartphones is predicted to increase, with 15% of smartphone users having such devices by 2027. Finally, more and more large organisations are expected to set up AI oversight committees that will conduct audits and look at ethical and legal issues.

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Mobile apps

AI AND CRYPTO IN ONE: OR THE (ANTI)UTOPIAS OF WHICH WE SHOULD BE WEARY

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AI AND CRYPTO IN ONE: OR THE (ANTI)UTOPIAS OF WHICH WE SHOULD BE WEARY

11.10.2023 |

A flood of ethical questions about artificial intelligence is flooding society today, and the need for balanced regulations is now more important than ever

 

 

WorldCoin offers a solution for digital identity by scanning the iris of the eyes, which will lead to the elimination of doubts about whether it is a human or a bot. However, this raises a lot of ethical questions related to the promise of a universal basic income that all humans will receive by default from WorldCoin.

The AI n’ Cyber 2023 event, organised by the Digital National Coalition in partnership with economic.bg and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, will answer questions about how innovative concepts can get out of hand, what we need to watch out for to avoid creating future anti-utopian scenarios, and what challenges arise when combining blockchain and artificial intelligence.

The event will take place on 26 October at the John Atanasoff Hall in Sofia Tech Park.

 

Who is Monica Manolova?

Monika Manolova has a PhD in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and is professionally involved in telecommunications. Over time, she realized that her science was a niche to enter the world of artificial intelligence.

 

“Geographic AI is about processing satellite imagery, which is very heavy, it’s driven by big data, and the only way to process it effectively is through machine learning and various forms of AI.”

– Monica Manolova

 

Monica works for Morality and Knowledge in AI, one of the largest ethics communities in AI, where she develops various projects. In Bulgaria, she is a subject matter expert at the Digital National Coalition. In her opinion, Bulgaria holds a good position in the development of artificial intelligence and ethics in AI and has a real opportunity for development in the field.

 

Technology for Good: Mission (Im)possible

“We in AI ethics want AI to be used for good, to improve the quality of life for people, to develop new medicines and environmental solutions. If only pure monetization is pursued, this is not good and leads to a distorted understanding of AI – from what it can be used for to purely social defects,” said Monika Manolova.

And she gives the example of the company Meta, which until recently had a department dealing with the development of new drugs, but closed it and laid off the experts there – so that it could invest more actively in the development of chatbots. The apparent opportunity for monetisation and mass exploitation of artificial intelligence prompted a swift response from a host of institutions. For example, just a few months after the launch of ChatGPT, organisations such as UNESCO, the White House and the EU quickly implemented regulations.

The reasons for the regulations vary. In India, for example, they are aimed at protecting workers’ professions from mass automation, while in Canada they are more artistically focused, with copyright protection. In Europe, they are focused in “protecting social classification”.

AI regulation has three aspects: data ethics, algorithm ethics and application ethics. In each of these areas, the data must be balanced, not exclude anyone on purpose, the algorithm must be able to explain how it works, and it is very important to eliminate the risk of emotional influence in the application.

According to Monika Manolova, attributing human qualities to artificial intelligence, which is an algorithm, is not correct, it is misleading. Therefore, there must be clear and categorical distinctions, because future generations will not be able to distinguish when what they are communicating with is artificial intelligence and when it is not.

As technology advances, more and more the line between artificial and natural intelligence is blurring. We need to be careful how and why we use this tool.

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Artificial Intelligence

THE POTENTIAL OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO REVOLUTIONISE CAD/CAM

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THE POTENTIAL OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO REVOLUTIONISE CAD/CAM

09.10.2023 |

Manufacturing the products we use every day has always been difficult. But can artificial intelligence lighten, even revolutionize the CAD (Computer Aided Design)/CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) industry?

 

Since day one, generative abilities have been one of the leading benefits of artificial intelligence. From music to art, it manages to do its job as well, if not better, than its human counterparts. But beneath the creative skills of generative software also lies a profound benefit and an important tool for workflow automation. It is now being implemented in the field of CAD.

Generative design uses algorithms and rules to generate different design solutions that meet certain criteria and constraints. This helps engineers discover optimal and innovative solutions by considering functionality, performance, cost, sustainability and aesthetics. Generative design reduces the time and complexity of the design process and increases product variety and quality.

On the other hand, additive manufacturing builds products layer by layer based on digital models. This enables the creation of complex and customized products that are difficult or even impossible with traditional methods. 3D printing accelerates testing and validation of design and simulation results by rapidly creating prototypes in small batches. All of this dramatically aids the workflow of designers. But we can do better.

Say hello to artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence and machine learning can help automate and optimize design and simulation tasks, such as generating and evaluating design alternatives, detecting and correcting errors, predicting and preventing failures, and improving productivity and quality, tasks that would take long and badly needed time from designers.

But, that’s not all. Many CAD software already implements artificial intelligence for much more than assistance. For example, Dessault Systems’ Solidworks modeling software uses its generative AI to directly assist the design process, for example predicting what next element the designer would use. This only highlights the capabilities of AI in the CAD realm.

Artificial intelligence can do many impressive things, but it’s time to start using it in our work environments, especially in CAD design.

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CAN OPENAI BECOME THE NEXT TECH GIANT?

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CAN OPENAI BECOME THE NEXT TECH GIANT?

07.10.2023 |

What the leading AI startup’s business shows about the future of technology

 

When it was released last November, no one would have imagined what a phenomenal success the flagship product of leading AI startup OpenAI would be. Chat GPT outperformed the competition, such as Google’s Bard, by leagues. But will it be able to hold the lead?

Interest in AI technology remains high. Japanese tech investment company SoftBank has committed to OpenAI, providing them with significant financial backing. The basis of this commitment is OpenAI’s collaboration with Microsoft, whose Azure cloud computing platform provides the computing power they need. To receive this support, Microsoft will receive a significant portion of OpenAI’s future profits. It is vital for OpenAI to receive sufficient funding to develop increasingly sophisticated models. Training the newest model, GPT-4, is estimated to cost $100 million. It is interesting to note that OpenAI does not plan to develop their next major model (GPT-5), instead they will create a more economically used model, GPT-4.5. The main reason for this decision is that the cost of the models is an important factor and OpenAI is looking to balance its costs and revenues.

On the other hand, OpenAI is not a Chat GPT-only development company. Their main revenue comes from developing bespoke AI solutions for large corporate clients, such as investment bank Morgan Stanley.

OpenAI may have valuable advantages, but they don’t guarantee its dominance. The network effects that have helped big companies like Alphabet, Amazon and Meta become quasi-monopolies in the areas of search, e-commerce and social networking have yet to materialise. Despite the large amount of users, GPT-4 is not a significant improvement over the previous version six months ago. When optimized using user data, the overall performance of GPT-4 has changed in unpredictable ways and in some cases for the worse.

The struggle to be first in creating models is also met with drawbacks. For model builders, the biggest expense is experimentation, which often does not yield results before a successful model is trained. OpenAI is estimated to have lost $500 million last year, even though training GPT-4 alone cost only a fifth of that amount. In the world of artificial intelligence, news of failed ideas spreads quickly, helping OpenAI’s competitors avoid costly mistakes.

Ultimately, the market is projected to contain a few large universal models and a host of specific ones. If AI turns out to be what it is believed to be, the role of oligopolist could bring OpenAI a lot of money. And if its backers only really see some of that money once the company has created a human-like thinking machine, then all bets will be off.

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WHY PART OF THE NEW EU CYBERSECURITY REGULATIONS CREATE RISK

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WHY PART OF THE NEW EU CYBERSECURITY REGULATIONS CREATE RISK

03.10.2023 |

In a new open letter, cybersecurity experts are calling for changes to the Cyber Resilience Act’s vulnerability disclosure requirements

 

European authorities are being urged to reconsider the vulnerability disclosure requirements outlined in the Cyber Resilience Act (CRA) by cybersecurity experts. In an open letter signed by professionals from over 50 organizations, the experts argue that certain aspects of Article 11 will create new threats and undermine the security of digital products and users. The provisions, proposed by the European Commission last September, aim to introduce common cybersecurity requirements across the European Union (EU), including mandatory security patches and addressing vulnerabilities in IoT products. The intention is to enhance transparency, accountability, and consumer protection.

Under the new rules, organizations must disclose software vulnerabilities to government agencies within 24 hours of exploitation. This will lead to the creation of a real-time vulnerability database that includes all unpatched security flaws. However, cybersecurity experts argue that this information could place unnecessary risks on consumers and companies. They assert that consolidating all current vulnerabilities in one place may increase threats to organizations. Rushing the disclosure process may result in failed patches and additional pressure on security experts and software vendors.

The open letter highlights concerns that dozens of government agencies will have real-time access to comprehensive vulnerability databases, making them a tempting target for malicious actors. Rushing the disclosure process and widely disseminating information about vulnerabilities could disadvantage organizations and create opportunities for hackers. The experts suggest changes to Article 11, such as considering the significance of the vulnerability and the possibility of exploitation by cybercriminals. They recommend a risk-based approach and a mandatory reporting requirement of 72 hours of “effective mitigation” to minimize the risk of exploitation.

Cybersecurity experts also express concern about the impact of the disclosure requirements on collaboration between software vendors and researchers. The current form of the requirements fails to account for the time required to verify, test, and fix vulnerabilities before they are publicly disclosed. This could disrupt coordination and collaboration, ultimately impeding cybersecurity efforts.

This is not the first time these concerns have been raised. Similar issues were highlighted in a previous open letter by digital rights organizations in June, as well as in a joint statement by cybersecurity organizations. These previous calls for consideration emphasize the potential misuse of information that is widely disseminated.

In conclusion, cybersecurity experts are urging European authorities to reassess the vulnerability disclosure requirements in the Cyber Resilience Act. They believe that the current provisions pose new threats and undermine digital security. The experts propose changes such as a risk-based approach and a longer timeframe for disclosure to ensure a responsible and coordinated process. Concerns have also been raised about the impact on collaboration between software vendors and researchers, as well as the potential misuse of widely disseminated vulnerability information.

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WHICH TECHNOLOGIES DID THE EU LABEL AS CRITICAL?

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WHICH TECHNOLOGIES DID THE EU LABEL AS CRITICAL?

04.10.2023 |

The list of innovations comes amid the EU’s efforts to protect its sovereignty in the face of China’s global rise

 

The European Commission publishes a list of ten critical technologies that it aims to protect in order to enhance the economic security of the European Union. These technologies will be the subject of special attention from policymakers to prevent the theft of intellectual property from hostile countries. The EU will also encourage the development of these technologies through various measures such as additional support and partnerships with like-minded allies.

Four of the ten technologies identified are considered to be the most sensitive and at greatest risk of know-how leakage. These are advanced semiconductors, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and some biotechnologies such as vaccines, genome sequencing and synthetic biology.

The list also consists of second-tier technologies in cybersecurity, advanced sensors, space and propulsion technologies, nuclear energy, hydrogen, renewable energy (such as photovoltaics and smart grids), robotics, drones and advanced materials.

Věra Jourová, Vice-President of the European Commission, said the EU wants to be an active participant, not a passive player, in these technologies. The aim is for Europe to invest strategically in its own competitiveness and improve its technological edge to prepare for potential worst-case scenarios in the future.

The European Commission will seek the approval of the 27 Member States for its approach. The plan is to create a framework to ensure the protection of these critical technologies, promoting their development within the EU while avoiding the theft of intellectual property from external threats. In this way, Europe aims to strengthen its economic security and maintain its technological edge in critical sectors.

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WHAT HAPPENED IN THE IT SECTOR IN SEPTEMBER?

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WHAT HAPPENED IN THE IT SECTOR IN SEPTEMBER?

02.10.2023 |

Programs and academies

 

Signing up for Bosch ECS Career camp volume 3.0 launched

Enrollment is open for Bosch ECS Career Camp Vol.3 – the third engineering academy of Bosch Engineering Center Sofia. The program offers training and acquisition of knowledge and technical skills in the field of complete mobility solutions such as autonomous driving, dashboards, smart displays and more. The programme is open to young people, students and professionals in the fields of computer science, computer and software engineering. Applications are open until 17 November 2023 and the programme starts in January 2024. The online training takes place for 2 hours per day and includes courses in four areas: automotive C++ programming, automotive embedded application programming, automotive testing, and systems and requirements engineering. Successful graduates get the opportunity to be part of the Bosch Engineering Center Sofia team.

Sirma Venture Lab is back for 2.0

Venture Lab 2.0, a joint initiative of Sirma and the venture capital fund Innovation Capital, has been launched for the second consecutive year with the aim to find and support technology startups working in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics and autonomous flying devices. Applications for the incubation program were open until September 30, and finalists will be announced on October 19. The startups that are selected will receive funding from Sirma of up to €400,000. The programme will also work with experienced mentors, including Tihomir Totev, Sirma’s CTO, who will help the startups build the core prototype of their products and validate their market potential. Other lead mentors include Angel Angelov and Yavor Gotchev, who will assist in developing a sustainable business model, accounting, legislation and other aspects of entrepreneurship.

 

Events

 

Robotics Strategy Forum 2023 went down

The fifth edition of the Robotics Strategy Forum 2023 featured 12 topics including cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and technological innovation in manufacturing. The event featured 25 panelists from Bulgaria, the US and Germany. The second season of the PARA Robotics Incubator featured 10 teams competing for prizes worth BGN 5 thousand, including participation in the Founder Institute incubator and the Capital City Municipality’s Sandbox for Innovation program. The forum’s exhibition area featured more than 40 robots, including bionics, collaborative and learning robots, as well as a mini model of an intelligent factory and other educational projects.

 

Achievements

 

INSAIT became part of ELLIS, a network for the development of artificial intelligence

The Institute of Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology (INSAIT) has been accepted as a member of the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS), making it the first network unit in Eastern Europe. ELLIS is a network comprising only world-class research organisations in the field of artificial intelligence and already has 39 European members, including Oxford, Cambridge, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and others. Bulgaria’s application for ELLIS membership has been under consideration for a year and is the result of a collaboration between Sofia’s St. Kliment Ohridski University and Switzerland’s ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne. INSAIT is the first institute of its kind in Eastern Europe, for which Bulgaria plans to invest around 170 million BGN over 10 years.

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BULGARIA ENTERED THE TOP NETWORK FOR AI DEVELOPMENT

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BULGARIA JOINS ELLIS

04.09.2023 |

Bulgaria is the first country in Eastern Europe to join Europe’s most elite artificial intelligence development network ELLIS

 

Recently, Bulgaria, represented by the Institute for Systems and Artificial Intelligence Research (INSAIT), has been extended a coveted invitation to join the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS). This strategic move marks Bulgaria’s debut as a member of a select group of nations dedicated to advancing artificial intelligence (AI) research and innovation.

The official announcement of this partnership was made by Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov, joined by Professor Anastas Gerdzhikov, Rector of St. Sofia University Kliment Ohridski, and Professor Martin Vechev, the visionary behind INSAIT. The collaboration between these prominent entities signifies a significant stride toward enhancing Bulgaria’s influence in the global AI landscape.

Securing an invitation to ELLIS is no small feat. The stringent selection process scrutinized INSAIT’s Bulgarian candidacy for over a year. ELLIS, which stands as Europe’s paramount AI development network, aspires to position the continent as a preeminent force in AI innovation, challenging the supremacy of the United States and China.

Through the Institute for Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology (INSAIT) and St. Kliment Ohridski”, the first point of the top network in the region – “ELLIS Unit Sofia” is established.One hallmark of ELLIS is its exclusive membership, which includes only the most distinguished research organizations worldwide that have demonstrated exceptional prowess in AI research. Today, INSAIT joins the ranks of esteemed institutions like the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), EPFL (Lausanne), ETH Zurich, Max Planck Institute (Tubingen), Technion (Tel Aviv), TU Munich (Munich), Sorbonata (Paris), and more. This association propels Bulgaria into the upper echelons of AI research, fostering collaborations with global thought leaders.

INSAIT is the first institute of its kind in Eastern Europe. It is a partnership between Sofia University and the Swiss ETH Zurich and EPFL. The Bulgarian state will invest in the Institute for Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology about 170 million BGN within 10 years.

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WHAT HAPPENED IN THE IT SECTOR IN AUGUST

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WHAT HAPPENED IN THE IT SECTOR IN AUGUST

04.09.2023 |

Investments and acquisitions

Insight Enterprises acquires Amdaris

Insight Enterprises, a Fortune 500 integrator of digital transformation solutions, has acquired Amdaris, a UK-based Microsoft Gold certified partner, adding software development and consulting services. Amdaris’ Bulgarian office will remain unchanged, with new offices in Varna and Plovdiv.

Expansion

Valtech opens office in Bulgaria

Valtech, a global business transformation and digitalization company, has opened an office in Sofia.In its drive to expand and innovate, the company is in the process of assembling a dynamic team including software engineers, business analysts, project managers, quality assurance specialists, as well as DevOps and Site Reliability engineers. Various platforms and technologies are being worked on, and DXP and Composable Commerce are among the main service lines.

Programs and training

Sofia Tech Park launches South East European Innovators Program

Sofia Tech Park has launched the South East European Innovators Program (SEEIP), an initiative supporting innovators, entrepreneurs and researchers. It will start in October, but applications are now open for companies and teams: https://seeip.eu/. A panel of experts will determine the selected participants in two stages – in September and in March. The technology programme will benefit entrepreneurs and researchers who want to set up a company and develop a business project, it includes elements of incubation, acceleration and technology transfer, and there is no limit to the field of projects developed. SEEIP will follow the teams all the way – from establishing a specific product/service, to finding investment, to commercialisation and going international. The program will be conducted in English in a hybrid model – online trainings and in-person events, and in addition participants will be able to get one-on-one consultations with a team of experts.

Second season of Bosch Startup Harbour in Bulgaria

Bosch Startup Harbour, Bosch’s accelerator program for startups, has launched its second season in Bulgaria. Managed by Bosch Digital, the unit specialising in IoT, artificial intelligence (AIoT) and digitalisation, this initiative is tailored for technology startups. It connects these startups with Bosch experts from different units, providing them with mentoring, guidance and the opportunity to collaborate on real Bosch Group projects. The program’s focus areas include innovations based on generative AI and synthetic data, improving learning through generative AI, augmented reality in autonomous driving software development, intelligent sensor technologies for motion and performance tracking in the Metaverse, and digitalization in manufacturing. Applications for this program are open until September 30, and more details can be found here. In addition, the Bosch Startup Harbour program is expanding to Serbia.

24 Bulgarian students are part of Visteon’s RISE programme

The program lasts 18 months and students participate in three stages: a one-month introduction to automotive software and mechanics, followed by two stages involving real-world projects focused on software testing, integration and programming. Over 50 participants are part of this initiative at the Visteon Technology Center in Sofia.

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META INTRODUCES SEAMLESSM4T

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META INTRODUCES SEAMLESSM4T

23.08.2023 |

Meta has introduced SeamlessM4T, the first universal multimodal and multilingual translation model with artificial intelligence that allows users to communicate across language barriers. SeamlessM4T is currently available to researchers and developers under the appropriate license. The metadata of SeamlessAlign, the largest open-source multimodal translation dataset with 270,000 hours of learned speech, has also been published.

Creating a universal language translator is no easy task, and current speech-to-text and text-to-speech systems cover only a small fraction of the world’s languages. Building on the achievements of researchers around the world who have been striving for many years to create a universal translator, SeamlessM4T uses a unified systems approach to increase the efficiency and quality of translations by reducing errors and delays compared to segmented model methods. It leverages learnings from these efforts to provide multilingual and multimodal translation through a unified model built from disparate oral data sources, yielding state-of-the-art results. SeamlessM4T supports:

  • Speech recognition in almost 100 languages;
  • Speech-to-text conversion for nearly 100 input and output languages;
  • Speech-to-text conversion supporting nearly 100 input languages and 36 output languages;
  • Text-to-speech translation for nearly 100 languages;
  • Text-to-speech, supporting nearly 100 input languages and 35 output languages.

SeamlessM4T marks a new milestone in the development of artificial intelligence technology that bridges language gaps and facilitates connection and communication between people speaking different languages.

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OPENAI ALLOWED COMPANIES TO RETROFIT GPT-3.5 TURBO WITH THEIR OWN DATA

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OPENAI ALLOWED COMPANIES TO RETROFIT GPT-3.5 TURBO WITH THEIR OWN DATA

23.08.2023 |

Companies using the language model of the GT-3.5 Turbo family can now adapt it to their needs by entering their own selected data. As a result, this customised model can match or even exceed the ability of the GPT-4 to perform highly specialised tasks.

Since the release of the TURBO family of AI models in the beginning of the year, developers and companies have been pushing to have the ability to customise the model so that it can more fully meet user requirements. For example, to create a unique chatbot to help clients by communicating with them in a certain language or in a certain way. Until now, only the GPT-3 like dаvіnсі-002 and bаbbаgе-002 models offered similar capabilities, writes Thе Vеrgе.

The advantages of this customisation include increased manageability of the model (the model follows the inputs much better); reliable formatting of the output ( when responses have to be provided in a certain format); customisation of the tone, including imitation of the brand voice, for example for advertisement or internal communications. For IT companies, the GPT-3.5 Turbo model offers the possibility for Al to create a routine voiceover or to format and finalise different fragments of a voiceover.

The GPT-3.5 Turbo model family can process up to 4,000 characters simultaneously, which according to OpenAl is twice as many as previous models. Tests show that after fine-tuning using the company’s data, the beacons became up to 90% faster.

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THE IT SECTOR CONTINUES TO LEAD IN WAGE GROWTH IN BULGARIA

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THE IT SECTOR CONTINUES TO LEAD IN WAGE GROWTH IN BULGARIA

21.08.2023 |

Tack TMI Bulgaria’s 2023 Compensation and Benefits Survey of the Bulgarian market covers over 115,000 employees and over 1,000 positions. Again this year the leader is the IT sector. Serious competition for highly skilled professionals leads to steady salary growth.

The survey gathers information from 350 companies from various sectors of the economy, with a particularly strong representation from the high-tech, outsourcing, manufacturing, hotels, banks and financial institutions sectors. Participants include some of the largest and most influential employers both domestically (25%) and internationally (75%).

The demographic situation, the lack of skilled labour and the need for specialised professionals emerge as key factors for the future growth of wages in Bulgaria in the long term, analysts point out.Wages in the country continue to grow, albeit at a more moderate pace compared to previous years, with many other factors influencing wages. 

While Bulgaria is not among the countries whose companies are implementing the most interesting practices – such as providing free home delivery of food products, pet walking for employees on sick leave and the like – the trend of increasing wages and expanding the benefits package remains relevant, the survey reports.

Companies across all sectors are becoming more inventive in expanding the benefits package for their employees, it said. Some of the benefits that employees can receive at employers across the country in the past two years include taking care of employees’ mental health, providing funds to purchase home office equipment or covering the cost of the internet.

63% of employees in the tech sector want to work hybrid, and 27% say they prefer fully remote positions. The platform’s statistics report that post-pandemic, remote working remains the preferred mode of work, with only 8% of IT professionals wanting to return to offices. The trend is even increasing and telecommuting positions have been actively sought in recent months.

Since the beginning of the month, the most in-demand remote positions are for software developers, with Backend Development being the most preferred segment by candidates. According to the platform, it leads convincingly with nearly 40% of all remote job searches.

Python is the language preferred by professionals to program in with 32% of all searches. While the more mainstream ones like Java, .NET and PHP, for which more specialists are sought and hence more number of remote job listings are available, lag behind.

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CONTEST FOR EVENT IDEAS ON PROGRAMMING AND DIGITAL SKILLS TO THE INITIATIVE “MEET AND CODE” IS OPEN

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CONTEST FOR EVENT IDEAS ON PROGRAMMING AND DIGITAL SKILLS TO THE INITIATIVE "MEET AND CODE" IS OPEN

10.08.2023 |

Until 13.9.2023 NGOs and community centres from all over the country can apply to the competition of the largest European initiative for digital education – “Meet and Code”. The Bulgarian partner is the Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation.

For the seventh consecutive year, the Initiative will provide funding of up to 580 BGN for an organised event on coding and digital skills. The aim is to provoke interest in digital skills among young people in our country. Participants can send their ideas for events promoting coding and various digital skills among children and young people aged 8 to 24.

The events will be planned from 1st September to 31st October 2023, with a focus on the European Programming Week (7th – 22nd October). The funded events are free for all. An event must involve a minimum of 20 people and last a minimum of 4 hours. Organisations can submit several different event ideas.

This year, event approval will be on a first-come, first-served basis. You can find useful resources, presentations, toolkits and links in English and English for different stages of learning – from beginner to advanced – in the Inspiration Library.

For moreinformation about the application requirements, click HERE

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THE RISE OF GENERATIVE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: 70% OF THE WORLD’S BUSINESSES ARE ON BOARD!

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THE RISE OF GENERATIVE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: 70% OF THE WORLD'S BUSINESSES ARE ON BOARD!

27.07.2023 |

A recent VentureBeat survey of global executives reveals that over half of companies worldwide (54.6%) are experimenting with generative AI, and 18.2% are already implementing it in their operations.

However, only a minority, around one-fifth, intend to invest more resources in implementing AI in the next year or two.

AI has been hailed as one of the most powerful technologies since the internet, and its potential impact on various industries is huge. Microsoft founder Bill Gates highlighted its transformational potential, comparing it to the advent of the microprocessor, personal computers, the internet and mobile phones.

Despite the promising prospects of AI, many organizations are approaching its deployment cautiously due to limited resources and insufficient support from management or stakeholders. The survey also highlights that 36.4% of organizations face challenges in implementing next-generation AI due to limited resources.

Survey participants revealed that the most common use case for generative AI is in natural language processing tasks such as chat and messaging (46%), followed by content creation (32%). However, a significant number (32%) reported using AI for other purposes or not at all. Respondents highly valued the versatility of AI and its potential to improve customer experience.

Companies seeking to implement AI tools face challenges due to limited budgets or lack of prioritization of budgets. AI technology providers also face the task of convincing potential customers to increase their spending or reallocate their budgets to adopt AI solutions.

The rapid development of AI is changing the landscape, making AI-based solutions more accessible even to organizations that have not previously considered them. New AI products and features continue to emerge that expand the capabilities and applications of generative AI.

The journey of generative AI is just beginning, with many companies still exploring ways to use AI to achieve their business goals. As the AI industry continues to evolve, future results will likely present a different picture, showing increasing adoption and exploration of AI technology.

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Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital skills for the workforce

Digital skills for ICT professionals

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

STEM CENTRES IN OVER 2,200 SCHOOLS

By NEWS
STEM CENTRES IN OVER 2,200 SCHOOLS

07.07.2023 |

STEM centres and classrooms are to be built in 2,271 schools with funds from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, according to Education and Science Minister Prof. Galin Tsokov at the Eighth Congress of the Syndicate of Bulgarian Teachers.

Some schools are expected to start teaching in them as early as 2024.

“This is a change not only of the educational environment, but also of the design of education, of the way of teaching knowledge,” said prof. Tsokov.

The digital environment is very important and the so-called “Digital Backpack” is to be completed – the platform should be supplemented with more resources created by and for teachers and students. Within the 2023 budget, which will be discussed next week, funds for education have been increased by 750 million leva.

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Digital skills in education

Digital skills for children

Digital technology

Digital skills

WHAT HAPPENED IN THE IT SECTOR IN JUNE

By NEWS
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE IT SECTOR IN BULGARIA IN JUNE

03.07.2023 |

NEWS:

  • Vitosha Venture Partners invests EUR 1 million in 9 new companies

Vitosha Venture invests BGN 2 million in 5 developed startups and 4 projects from the Accelerate fund program. The 5 advanced stage companies are Native Spaces, SN Metals, Nakantara, Chat Hala and FinqUp, and the program funded Nomad Cabins, Petstay, Diplom Id and Twisted Technology. Vitosha Venture plans to invest another EUR 2 million that remained in the fund.

  • Icanpreneur raises pre-seed investment of up to 1.2 million Euros

Icanpreneur, a Bulgarian developer company, raises an investment of 1.2 million euros. The company aims to navigate technology startups through market validation and reach a successful product through a software system. The company also announced an access program for 200 new users to develop and improve the platform.

  • SoCyber ​​raised 760 thousand Euros

The Bulgarian cybersecurity company SoCyber ​​has raised 760,000 euros from various companies and three business angels from SeedBlink. Established in 2018 the company uses its funds to develop AI.

  • Innovation Capital invests EUR 200 thousand in NEXT BASKET

The platform for managing electronic stores – NEXT BASKET, received 200,000. euro from the venture capital fund Innovation Capital. The funds will be used for further development of the software and new functionalities. NEXT BASKET recently announced a partnership with euShipments.

  • CloudCart enters Romania

CloudCart is a Bulgarian eCommerce company that is expanding its operations in Romania. It achieves this success through partnership with banks and companies and aims to develop its market in Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. CloudCart offers software for automated creation of online stores.

  • MiCA officially became а law

MiCA is a regulation for crypto asset markets that has officially become law. In order to conduct activities in the EU, crypto exchanges and crypto wallet providers must have the appropriate amount of reserves. The MiCA provisions will start to apply in 2024.

  • The European Parliament passed a draft law on AI

The European Parliament passed a law that limits the use of artificial intelligence. The draft AI Act would place more restrictions on AI-powered tools, and AI developers would be required to submit systems for review before making them widely available. The bill also seeks to ban biometric identification systems in general, “social assessment” systems, and emotion recognition technology from law enforcement, employers, and educational institutions.

EVENTS:

  • DataArt organizes a two-week Summer IT Camp

DataArt is organizing a two-week Summer IT Camp that takes place online from July 10 to 22. The lecturers are experts from the DataArt team, and the topics, in addition to technology, are also focused on business and practical orientation. Lectures and discussions are in English, and participants can choose which modules to attend.

  • The network of European Digital Innovation Hubs gathered over 400 participants at a forum in Brussels

European Digital Innovation Hubs Network – EDIH gathered in Brussels over 400 participants with the common goal of promoting the digital transformation of Europe. The network is funded by the Digital Europe Programme, which delivers artificial intelligence and the latest technologies. EDIH also offers services such as training and skills development, facilitating access to innovation and ‘testing before investing’.

COURSES:

  • AIBEST organizes a free summer technical academy in Burgas

Over 100 students from the Professional High School of Computer Programming and Innovation took part in the AIBEST Technical Academy. Members of the company will be mentors to the children, who are gathered in teams and work on different case studies, close to a real project. The best performers received prizes.

  • INSAIT has launched a two-month summer AI program for students

INSAIT has launched a two-month summer program for students, which will take place in Sofia Tech Park in the summer of 2024. The program is called STARS (Science, Technology and AI Research Internship for High-School Students). The internship lasts 8 weeks, and participants will be involved in the development of the latest technologies and research in the field of AI and informatics.

  • 22 entrepreneurs enter Dare to Scale

22 entrepreneurs from 12 companies are entering the fifth edition of the Dare to Scale program. Participants take part in developing activities in the software industry, e-commerce, sports and others. The founders of the companies will participate in training for the development of a scalable business: organization management, marketing and sales, business planning and raising capital. Companies will have access to Endeavor’s local mentoring network, and partners and directors from PwC Bulgaria will also work individually with second-year participants.

Details

Website

Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital skills for the workforce

Digital skills for ICT professionals

Digital technology

Digital Skills

Artificial Intelligence