Artificial intelligence – the European approach to AI

DG CONNECT’s Khalil Rouhana speaking at ICT 2018

At ICT 2018 in Vienna, SciTech Europa listened to DG CONNECT’s Khalil Rouhana discuss the ‘European approach’ to AI.

Khalil Rouhana, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission’s DG CONNECT, spoke on artificial intelligence at Imagine Digital Connect Europe (ICT) 2018 which SciTech Europa attended in December, 2018 in Vienna, Austria. During his speech, Rouhana touched on the upcoming plans for its development and evolution.

AI is here to stay

Rouhana started by reflecting on AI’s journey so far and referred to the idea that “we all know the mountain, the uphill/downhill development of artificial intelligence, but today AI is here to stay.” He then followed this on by explaining that that “AI is the normal and natural development of digital systems. We make them smarter as we embed smart systems in all types of products and services, which make them more antonymous whilst bringing us additional functionalities, security and safety.”

The European approach

In addition to safety, Rouhana also stressed that AI would safeguard human dignity, transparency and democracy. To help achieve this, it was suggested that a European approach would be utilised. This would involve bringing “Europe’s biggest value of trust in to technology,” Rouhana said.

“The approach suggested to AI is one that we announced after long consultations with you and with the Member States, and it is in line with the way Europe does things; the way we do policy, the way we do politics, the way we do products and the way we do services.”
It was then argued that by using the “European way,” it would allow AI to have benefits for all business and citizens, whilst also bringing “our society forward together.”

Plan for €20bn investment every year

Rouhana explained that “50% of the €1bn that we have will go to artificial intelligence.” However, he did not stop there. Rouhana suggested that the by getting the “Member States to also leverage this amount,” it will result in “between now and 2020 close to €20bn all together in AI” which he deemed “deliverable and feasible.”

These investments will go towards numerous things, including “data and capacities to make AI a reality” and “in testing and experimentation [… including] AI for mobility, AI for energy to AI for agriculture and AI for manufacturing.”

Rouhana proposed: “To get the €20bn not over three years, but to get a €20bn investment every year in Europe on artificial intelligence.”

Best framework in Europe

The upcoming plans for the development of AI will include adapting the legal and ethical framework to ensure “the best framework in Europe for the development of an AI that is secure, trustful and that is in line with the aspirations of all our citizens.”

In addition to this, by adapting these frameworks it is proposed that this represents the “European approach to AI, and that is what we want to build together,” the Deputy Director General said.

Rouhana concluded his speech similar to how he started, by positively stating the importance of engaging together for “a bright future with artificial intelligence.”

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