Can the new €20 billion European AI strategy sustain Europe in the global race for digital supremacy?
There are two major players that stand out far in front of the rest in the global race for digital supremacy: Asia and the United States. In previous years, Europe has invested at least three times less than American and Asian tech giants. Europe has realized that it is not running fast enough.
by Agata Marty
What is the new EU plan and where the money will go?
The new European three step plan aims to boost investments in AI research and innovation in public and private sectors by €20 billion by the end of 2020. These investments include €1.5 billion for the AI research, €2.5 billion for big data and robotics as well as cash injection to start-ups and other AI focused companies. The EU will also encourage university-industry cooperation by setting up research centers and implement high-tech skill training courses that foster the adoption of new technologies.
In order to create a stimulating ecosystem for technology development in Europe, the EU will make it easier for the public to access and apply public sector data. As such data are a valuable source of information, this change will drive better business outcomes.
Will it be enough to fully reap the benefits of emerging opportunities? What’s all the fuss about?
Although the new initiative was welcomed by the tech companies, many of the EU new regulations and rules are still seen as burdensome and not “fit for purpose”, especially for the AI sector. Too complicated rules may harness innovative potential and growth in the digital and AI industry. Without taking a more balanced approach, the magic ingredient, i.e. “the importance, accessibility and openness of data” , will not bring the EU to a successful end in the AI battle. If the EU fails, the companies will likely move to more favorable environments, such as China, where regulations seem rather negligible.
In addition, the EU needs to be more flexible in terms of legislation in order to take a full advantage of emerging opportunities. And the tradeoff is worth it. According to the McKinsey report, the digital leaders outperform their peers in every industry and achieve larger revenue and productivity growth. AI and automation processes hold tremendous potential for productivity increases on a global level of up to 1.4 percent annually. Given the fact that Europe “has the largest share of intraregional data flows among all regions” , it has the potential to become the world’s largest digital economy in terms of size and value.
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