As the world has embarked on a successful artificial intelligence (AI) journey to bring about innovative transformation across various domains, several countries have come forward with comprehensive AI strategies to produce a guideline to regulate investment and innovations brought in by the technology. Today we are going to discuss the European AI policies and developments. The European Commission puts forward a European approach to artificial intelligence and robotics. It deals with technological, ethical, legal and socio-economic aspects to boost EU’s research and industrial capacity and to put artificial intelligence at the service of European citizens and economy.
As noted by the European Commission, AI has become an area of strategic importance and a key driver of economic development. It can bring solutions to many societal challenges from treating diseases to minimizing the environmental impact of farming. However, socio-economic, legal and ethical impacts have to be carefully addressed. It is essential to join forces in the European Union to stay at the forefront of this technological revolution, to ensure competitiveness and to shape the conditions for its development and use (ensuring respect of European values).
In its Communication, the European Commission puts forward a European approach to artificial intelligence-based on three pillars:
Being ahead of technological developments and encouraging uptake by the public and private sectors
The Commission is increasing its annual investments in AI by 70% under the research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. It will reach EUR 1.5 billion for the period 2018-2020. It will connect and strengthen AI research centers across Europe; support the development of an “AI-on-demand platform” that will provide access to relevant AI resources in the EU for all users; and support the development of artificial intelligence applications in key sectors.
However, this represents only a small part of all the investments from the Member States and the private sector. This is the glue linking the individual efforts, to make together a solid investment, with an expected impact much greater than the sum of its parts.
Given the strategic importance of the topic and the support shown by the European countries signing the declaration of cooperation during the Digital Day 2018, it is expected that the Member States and the private sector will make similar efforts.
The High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (AI HLEG) presented their Policy and Investment Recommendations for Trustworthy AI during the first European AI Alliance Assembly in June 2019. Joining forces at European level, the goal is to reach altogether, more than EUR 20 billion per year over the next decade.
Prepare for socio-economic changes brought about by AI
To support the efforts of the Member States which are responsible for labor and education policies, the Commission will support business-education partnerships to attract and keep more artificial intelligence talent in Europe; set up dedicated training and retraining schemes for professionals; foresee changes in the labor market and skills mismatch; support digital skills and competences in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), entrepreneurship and creativity; and encourage the Member States to modernize their education and training systems.
Ensure an appropriate ethical and legal framework
On 19 February 2020, the European Commission published a White Paper aiming to foster a European ecosystem of excellence and trust in AI and a Report on the safety and liability aspects of AI. The White Paper proposes measures that will streamline research, foster collaboration between the Member States and increase investment into AI development and deployment; and policy options for a future EU regulatory framework that would determine the types of legal requirements that would apply to relevant actors, with a particular focus on high-risk applications.