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Spain’s AI Gold Rush: From Underdog to AI Powerhouse

While OpenAI, one of the titans in generative AI, might be facing some ‘rocky roads’ in Spain, it’s not all gloomy for the tech scene there. Yes, Spain hasn’t slammed the door shut on OpenAI like Italy did, but their magnifying glass is out, scrutinizing the tech giant closely. And Paul Handal from the esteemed ECIJA law firm says, it’s the topic du jour with his clientele.

Now, here’s where the plot thickens: the supposed void left by the big AI players has turned into Spain’s silver lining. Instead of stagnation, it’s been a catalyst. Local tech entrepreneurs have rolled up their sleeves, pushing forward a flurry of AI startups.

Tech lawyers with their fingers on the pulse predict that Spain’s budding AI horizon might just overshadow giants like OpenAI in the future. How? A two-fold magic combo: their pristine alignment with EU’s privacy playbook and an ocean of Spanish data to feed the AI training beasts.

For tech moguls from the U.S. looking to paint their business canvases with international hues, Spain’s AI terrain is turning into a tantalizing target. And as Marta Vizcaino from DLA Piper spills, the allure is multifaceted. Spanish engineers? Top-tier and affordable. Plus, the work-from-home wave has ushered in a global AI talent influx to Spain’s scenic locales like Malaga. And U.S. firms aren’t just spectators. Case in point: Stylitics, a digital merch tech from the U.S., recently hitched its wagon with Barcelona’s AI prodigy, Wide Eyes.

But that’s not all folks. The AI momentum in Spain is only gearing up. As Vizcaino dishes out, major players are planting AI hubs in Spain, like Telefonica in Madrid or ADIA Lab in Granada. Plus, a cherry on top: Alicante will house the European Center Of Artificial Intelligence.

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And here’s the kicker for U.S. companies: Spanish techies aren’t just making cool AI stuff. They’ve mastered the complex maze of EU’s privacy laws. So, U.S. companies eyeing EU markets don’t have to reinvent the wheel; they can simply collaborate or acquire these compliant-ready Spanish entities. Moreover, Spain’s AI arena has another card up its sleeve: Spanish language data. As Handal hints, it’s not just a treat for Spain or the U.S. but a boon for companies targeting Latin American expanses from Mexico to Argentina.

Yet, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Handal reminds us of Spain’s (and much of the EU’s) historical trepidation towards AI. One culprit? The country’s relatively budget-friendly legal services, which lessens the urgency for tech automation.

Despite the roadblocks, Spain’s AI trajectory seems destined for the skies. The pace? Maybe not breakneck, but steady, thanks to its latent potential and the appetites of U.S. tech magnates.

The verdict? Only time will truly tell how U.S. and Spanish tech landscapes interweave in the AI domain. But as Vizcaino hints, the writing’s on the wall: U.S. firms looking to dance in the EU’s tech ballroom might find it undeniably beneficial to team up with Spain’s AI maestros.

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