We are at the beginning of a rapid period of transformation of our economy and society due to the convergence of many digital technologies. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is central to this change and offers major opportunities to improve our daily lives.
AI has become an area of strategic importance and a key driver of economic development. It can bring solutions to many societal challenges from treating diseases to minimising the environmental impact of farming. Connected and autonomous vehicles, image recognition, and AI-supported medical diagnostics are just some areas increasingly deployed in industry, government, and commerce that will soon be commonplace. However, socio-economic, legal and ethical impacts have to be carefully addressed. This is the ‘European approach, the Commission advocates.
There is strong global competition on AI amongst the US, China, and Europe. For the EU, it is not so much a question of winning or losing a race, but finding the right way of embracing the opportunities offered by AI in a way that is human-centred, ethical, secure, and true to the EU’s core values. Member States and the European Commission are developing coordinated national and European strategies that build on its areas of strength including GDPR, excellent research, leadership in some industrial sectors like automotive and robotics, a solid legal and regulatory framework, and rich cultural diversity.
We still know very little about how AI will impact the way we think, make decisions, relate to each other, and how it will affect our jobs. This uncertainty can be a source of concern. The future is not yet written.
EURACTIV organised this Virtual Conference to discuss the transition towards a successful development and use of AI in Europe, in a way that citizens will trust and embrace it.
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