Our take on the European Commission’s plan on Artificial Intelligence

-European Commission publishes “Coordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence”.

– European DIGITAL SME Alliance welcomes the Plan and stresses the importance of increased investment and Commission’s efforts to build up the European data space.

Recently, the European Commission released its Coordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence which strengthens the Commission’s intentions to bring Europe back to the club of global AI forerunners. It is an important political gesture that is highly welcomed by the European DIGITAL SME Alliance.

The plan’s focus areas are: increasing investment, making more data available, fostering talent and ensuring trust.

Specifically, the plan foresees €20 billion of public and private investments in research and innovation in AI from now until the end of 2020 and more than €20 billion per year from public and private investments over the following decade. Most of this funding will be available through Digital Europe and Horizon Europe programmes, both of which target SME beneficiaries. What is more, the plan advocates for the collaboration of companies and research organisations leading the way for new opportunities and innovation partnerships, while it aims at making resources available for SMEs, Start-ups and innovators in AI and blockchain with initially 100 million mobilised in 2020. Additionally, the plan also supports the creation of European data spaces to facilitate data sharing across borders and foster the development of new products and services. Lastly the plan promotes life long learning and skills development in AI by making available scholarships and higher education programmes.

Acknowledging the importance of Artificial Intelligence as the center of technological advancement and the fourth industrial revolution, European DIGITAL SME Alliance welcomes the Plan and highly appreciates the growing investment in AI technologies.

However it must be noted that despite Europe’s lead in fundamental AI research, the global share of AI-related inventions patented in Europe has been decreasing (from 19% to 12%) in the past years, illustrating Europe’s backwardness in the uptake and use of AI technologies.

“The weight of Artificial Intelligence and new business opportunities these technologies bring is stressed in the AI Plan, however, there is a long way ahead until we reach concreteness” – stated Oliver Grün – President of the European DIGITAL SME Alliance. “The rapid development of AI will profoundly change the status quo of the industry, and to benefit from this opportunity we must integrate AI in our industrial processes” he added.

Therefore, in order to strengthen industrial application of developed AI technologies, and to increase their adoption among European companies, DIGITAL SME Alliance calls on the EU to further consider the following aspects:

  • Further Open-up the access to data, especially to non-personal machine generated data, which is an essential element for machine learning, by encouraging manufacturers of data-generating machines to share this data with the business users of such machines. Moreover, sharing of public data and openly documented interfaces for the use of such data are also crucial.
  • Allow and encourage the use of modern data analytics tools, such as text and data mining.
  • Push member states to adopt AI strategies which will result increased coordination and more private investments