Prof. Virginia Dignum

Talk title: Beyond the AI hype: Balancing Innovation and Social Responsibility

Abstract: AI can extend human capabilities but requires addressing challenges in education, jobs, and biases. Taking a responsible approach involves understanding AI’s nature, design choices, societal role, and ethical considerations. Recent AI developments, including foundational models, transformer models, generative models, and large language models (LLMs), raise questions about whether they are changing the paradigm of AI, and about the responsibility of those that are developing and deploying AI systems. In all these developments, is vital to understand that AI is not an autonomous entity but rather dependent on human responsibility and decision-making.

In this talk, I will further discuss the need for a responsible approach to AI that emphasize trust, cooperation, and the common good. Taking responsibility involves regulation, governance, and awareness. Ethics and dilemmas are ongoing considerations, but require understanding that trade-offs must be made and that decision processes are always contextual. Taking responsibility requires designing AI systems with values in mind, implementing regulations, governance, monitoring, agreements, and norms. Rather than viewing regulation as a constraint, it should be seen as a stepping stone for innovation, ensuring public acceptance, driving transformation, and promoting business differentiation. Responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not an option but the only possible way to go forward in AI.

Short bio: Virginia Dignum is Professor of Responsible Artificial Intelligence at Umeå University, Sweden where she leads the AI Policy Lab. She is also senior advisor on AI policy to the Wallenberg Foundations. She has a PHD in Artificial Intelligence from Utrecht University in 2004, is member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA), and Fellow of the European Artificial Intelligence Association (EURAI). She is a member of the United Nations Advisory Body on AI, the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI), UNESCO’s expert group on the implementation of AI recommendations, OECD’s Expert group on AI, founder of ALLAI, the Dutch AI Alliance, and co-chair of the WEF’s Global Future Council on AI. She was a member of EU’s High Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence and leader of UNICEF’s guidance for AI and children. Her new book “The AI Paradox” is planned for publication in late 2024.


Dr. Marta Villegas

Talk title: LLMs in Spain: results, experiences, and future actions

Abstract: In this talk I will introduce the work that is being done in the Language Technologies Unit at Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) which aims to advance the field of natural language processing through cutting-edge research and development and use of HPC. The Unit has extensive experience in several NLP areas, such as massive language model building, machine translation, speech technologies, HPC computing and unsupervised learning for under-resourced languages and domains.

I will focus on the language modeling research line that is responsible for the development of large language models developed in Spain for Spanish and Catalan based on encoders and decoders trained using the MareNostrum5 supercomputer, the results and projects as well as the remaining challenges.

Short bio: Marta Villegas is the head of the Language Technologies Unit at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), where 40 researchers work on language modeling in an HPC environment. Much of the focus is on optimizing specific aspects of large language modeling, including pretraining tasks, transfer learning, continuous pretraining techniques and evaluation strategies. Other research lines include machine translation and speech technologies.

Villegas has over 30 years of experience in natural language processing, having worked at several institutions before coming to BSC. These include the University of Barcelona, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Centro Nacional Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO). She has ins participated to the “Plan de Impulso de las Tecnologías del Lenguaje” (Plan-TL), an initiative aimed at advancing AI and language technologies in Spain. She is currently the principal investigator for two European projects—IntelComp H2020 and IBERIFIER CEF— and the coordinator of another European CEF project—NextProcurement. The focus of these projects is to develop text-analysis components and scale them in an HPC environment.

Villegas is also responsible for the AINA project, a €15 million initiative funded by the Catalan Government, dedicated to developing infrastructure for the Catalan language in the field of AI/TL. Moreover, she coordinates the ILENIA project, a €7 million initiative within the framework of PERTE, supporting co-official languages in Spain.


Aina Monfort

Talk title: The future of manufacturing in aerospace

Abstract: Changing market needs and customer expectations are radically transforming the way today’s aircraft are designed and manufactured. To build aircraft that meet the highest standards of quality and performance, our industrial ecosystem must be future-focused, intelligent and digital. The Industry 4.0 revolution is putting Airbus on the path towards full digital transformation across our entire product lifecycle.

Let’s examine different parameters and trends that are and will continue to transform the manufacturing processes in aerospace.

Short bio: Aina is the Head of Operations at Airbus Helicopters Spain. With an Aeronautical Engineering and MBA as background, Aina began working at Airbus in 2011. She has held several roles in the company in the Operations, Support and Service and Strategy teams, and she holds international experience in the Asia-Pacific region.

Aina’s focus today is to ensure a sustainable helicopters manufacturing scene in Spain for the decades to come. Navigating the current system complexities with a hope that the new technologies will improve the ways we manufacture today, to increase efficiency, safety and resilience.


Mª Rosa Marcos Martínez

Talk title: Digital Transformation at Telefónica: Enhancing Efficiency and Quality

Abstract: I will present the continuous transformation project that Telefónica is internally carrying out, to simplify and improve efficiency and quality by redesigning internal processes, using different market technologies such as process mining, RPA, AI, etc.

I will share one of the main achievements: the transformation of our customer service with the goals achieved. It has implied changes for agents, who have changed their way of working, and improvements in the quality of service perceived by customers. Additionally, I will explain some of the most innovative projects we are currently working on using AI, focusing on the methodology followed in this digital transformation process within Telefónica.

Short bio: Rosa Marcos is Telecommunications Engineer from Universidad Politécnica Madrid. She currently works as an expert in the area of hyperautomation and AI at Telefónica Spain, where she leads one of the pioneering generative AI projects that will transform the company’s operations area. She has been part of the automation team since its inception, having led transformation projects for customer service channels in the B2C segment, as well as post-sales service transformation in the B2B segment.

Throughout her nearly 25-years career at Telefónica, Rosa has always been involved in the initiation of emerging businesses. In IoT, she served as Head of IoT Products at Telefónica Digital for eight years, launching projects focused on smart metering, smart agriculture, and tracking. She also participated in the birth of MVNOs at Telefónica España, defining and implementing the models commercialized by Telefónica. Previously, she was part of the initial team developing mobile network data services at Telefónica.