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Blog: Time to boost the EU’s digital IQ

Director Lars Frelle-Petersen blogs about the European Commission’s strategy for the development and use of AI in the EU’s member states.

When it comes to artificial intelligence, Europe is lagging behind compared to the US and China. That is why the Commission last week launched a joint strategy for the development and use of AI in all of the EU’s member states.

Among the strategy’s aims is for EU-wide investment in AI to reach 20 billion euro per year starting in 2020 and onwards. This represents a quadrupling of current funding.

This is due diligence.

AI can bring about major gains for the whole of society – not least in the health sector, where rapid and precise analysis of large amounts of data can help with the development of new medicine and treatments. We also see major opportunities in the energy, climate and transport sectors, where AI can be used to reduce resource consumption, for example.

The EU’s digital playing rules can become a strength

There is no doubt that new technologies such as AI contain major societal potential, but meanwhile, it is crucial that we do not get carried away by an uncritical technological enthusiasm.

Even though Europe is lagging behind the digital breakthroughs being made in the US and China, Europe is ahead when it comes to the debate on new political playing rules for a digital economy.

This could turn out to be a veritable strength if we are able to strike the right balance between room for innovation and protection of citizens. The purpose of new technologies must always be to create value for people – not technology for its own sake.

Hence, it is encouraging that the Commission’s proposal also intends to set out ethical guidelines for the use of AI, taking into account issues such as security, protection of privacy and transparency in underlying algorithms. Similarly, the Commission also intends to look into the need to adjust existing legislation, for example clarification of legal liability when autonomous systems cause damage.

At DI, we encourage the Danish government to take up the baton and draw up a strategy for Denmark’s approach to AI. The more we keep at the forefront of technological developments, the easier it will be to set up a political framework for how technology should and should not be used in Denmark and the rest of the EU.

We encourage the Danish government to take up the baton and draw up a strategy for Denmark’s approach to AI.

DIRECTOR LARS FRELLE-PETERSEN, DI
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PUBLISHED: 5/3/2018 LAST MODIFIED: 5/3/2018