A few weeks ago we wrote about the prospects of Artificial Intelligence and that Europe is lagging behind within the field. Now the EU Commission has presented the European strategy to get into the game, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said:
“Just as the steam engine and electricity did in the past, AI is transforming our world. It presents new challenges that Europe should meet together in order for AI to succeed and work for everyone. We need to invest at least €20 billion by the end of 2020. The Commission is playing its part: today, we are giving a boost to researchers so that they can develop the next generation of AI technologies and applications, and to companies so that they can embrace and incorporate them.”
Besides this general focus on the importance of development and boost competitiveness, the EU Commission in comparison to US and Asia is directing a lot of attention to the ethical aspects of AI development: The AI should be put in the service of the Europeans.
In this development plans of a European AI hub, ELLIS institute, that stands for European Lab for Learning and Intelligent Systems, where the vision is that it should produce world-class research for the next generation AI. But also like CERN, the particle physics lab near Geneva, develop into a power source to avoid brain drain from Europe and be able to become the magnet for the AI talent around the world. In an open letter to European governments scientists in the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Israel and the Netherlands is promoting this vision and that it should be in place by the end of this year. In this spirit, the EU Commission according to its new strategy will support business-education partnerships to attract and keep more AI talent in Europe. The focus will be set on dedicated training schemes with financial support from the European Social Fund, and support digital skills, competencies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), entrepreneurship and creativity. However, an AI hub like the vision of the ELLIS institute would be “the icing on the cake” that actually give Europe the best possible prospects of taking the lead of the next generation of AI.
Zoubin Ghahramani, professor of information engineering at Cambridge University, add one more aspect:
“The regulatory environment for technology is often led by the people who control the technology.”
To build the ELLIS institute would be a guarantee to make AI work for the people, which correspond well with the visions of the EU Commission.