AI and Automation to lay the grounds

European Union’s stance and approach towards AI and Automation to lay the Grounds

Changing workforce dynamics, aging population and a direct challenge from China and North America could either void Europe’s chances of progress or create a scope of opportunity

There have been plenty of studies, debates and methodical suturing of ideas on the topic of the next development revolution in the EU. One that possibly puts arrests the downhill slope of the continent’s economy post the 2008-housing crisis.

The continent’s push for Citizen AI, better policies and an overall proliferating of organizations might help put Europe back on the map in terms of development and innovation. In addition to jobs and development initiatives, the work and investments in AI could also, probably, stabilize the continent’s otherwise tumultuous conditions - economically and culturally.

In a factsheet titled ‘Artificial intelligence for Europe’, the European Commission puts forward an approach to Artificial Intelligence based on three pillars, each of which are targeted to bring a public-private partnership model for each aspect (for the last of which EU already has started policy posturing):

  • Being ahead of technological developments and encouraging uptake by the public and private sectors - something that the administrators and tech enthusiasts would look forward to.
  • Prepare for socio-economic changes brought about by AI - something that could possibly bring social changes in the continent
  • Ensure an appropriate ethical and legal framework

As suggested by the factsheet, ‘A European approach on AI will boost the European Union’s competitiveness and ensure trust based on European values’. The push also has been advocated by several notable people associated with technology and the government.

“To both address people’s concerns and take advantage of the economic opportunities, it is important for Europe to find its own path when it comes to the development and use of artificial intelligence. The tech industry must foster trust in these technologies”, stated Bernd Leukert who is a Board Member at SAP SE, Products & Innovation.

Another proponent of Artificial Intelligence, Rajat Khare added, “The EU’s initiative to create a conducive investment environment for AI will only invite the world’s major tech companies as well as help encourage the local startups and tech eco-system”. Rajat Khare is the founder of Boundary Holdings, an investment fund focused on AI and Machine learning.

The optimism shown by the community runs in tow with the EU’s efforts in the space. The European Commission has already invested significant amounts in AI, cognitive systems, robotics, big data and future and emerging technologies to help Europe be competitive:

  • Around €2.6 billion over the duration of Horizon 2020 on AI-related areas (robotics, big data, health, transport, future and emerging technologies
  • €700 million under Horizon 2020 + €2.1 billion from private investment in one of the biggest civilian research programmes in smart robots in the world
  • €27 billion through European Structural and Investment Funds, on Skills development out of which European Social Fund invests, €2.3 billion specifically in digital skills

Source: ec.europa.eu - USA-China-EU plans for AI: Where do we stand? - Which regions gain the most from AI?

One could argue that this is the continent’s latest appeal to investors to bolster its nascent tech-sphere. If successful, the continent could serve as a massive eco-system of development as well as provide an immense running ground for AI to flourish.

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