Europe is now planning to catch up with the United States and China in the area of technologies that dominated the past decade as it feels that it had been left behind in the technology race.
The current aim of the planners and authorities in Europe is to develop a single market for creating and sharing of data that can aid European companies to be able to rival companies form the US and China in the next round of tech innovations as well as to reduce the power of tech giants such as Facebook and Google that are flush with huge amounts of data. Plans to this effect were unveiled by the European Union on Wednesday.
A paper on artificial intelligence was also released by EU officials that also contained rules to govern the use of the technology – the first of its kind in the world.
“Whoever does business [here] needs to respect our rules and values,” Margrethe Vestager, the EU commissioner leading the charge on tech issues, said at a press conference.
The aim of setting out these policies and framework for data usage, the European Union aims to create a level playing field, which is currently unavailable for smaller European companies, to effectively compete large US and Chinese firms as well as to leverage the huge amount of data that is generated within the EU for further and faster development in industries such as transportation and health care.
“We recognize that we missed the first wave or the first battle,” Commissioner Thierry Breton told reporters. He added that there are enough tools present at the hands of the EU that can help it to “win” the next phase of technology revolution, because the block also has “the strongest and largest industrial base.”
Additionally, the regulatory environment in the EU is quite strong. A probe into the manner in which data is used by the tech giants Google, Facebook and Amazon is already underway. The European Commission has also slapped fines amounting to a total of €8.2 billion or $8.9 billion since 2017 on Google over charges that the search engine giant had violated EU antitrust regulations. And new global standards have in data protection have been set by the new GDPR that was passed by the block in 2018.
Regulating AI is also at the top of the priority list for the EU. The stance of the EU regulators about AI is that it wants to closely scrutinize the various uses that AI is being put into in the same manner that it ensures that certain standards are maintained for the usage of cars, toys and cosmetics.
While not explicitly spelling out any intention of the EU to currently put any ban on the use of AI, the paper did indicate the strong intention of the block to initiate a “broad” global debate about the circumstances, if any, could be used to justify the use of AI – particularly those that processes biometric data in public. One of the elements about AI that the paper explicitly indicates is the intention of the EU regulators to ensure that any company that uses AI in the public and that operates in within its boundaries will have to ensure and convince the regulators that there is no bias involved in the use of the AI systems and there is always some degree of human oversight.
(Adapted from CNN.com)