The EU has published its strategies for data and artificial intelligence, and has some ambitious plans for Europe’s digital future.
But is the UK about to miss out on being part of the world’s largest common data space, with more users and providers of big data than anywhere else in the world?
What is European Data Space?
The EU’s new AI and data strategies has a very ethical slant and even come with a none-too-thinly-veiled threat to ‘tame’ US tech giants that don’t live up to its self-proclaimed high standards.
The overall ambition of the EU is clearly articulated:
Harnessing the capacity of the EU to invest in next generation technologies and infrastructures, as well as in digital competences like data literacy, will increase Europe’s technological sovereignty in key enabling technologies and infrastructures for the data economy.
The AI and data strategy is open to public discussion until May 19, 2020, and is encouraging input from businesses and members of the public.
A large part of the presented white paper deals with the new data strategy of the EU and pursues an ambitious plan -with more users and providers of big data than anywhere else in the world.
Huge amounts of data are already being produced in and around the EU and it now has the opportunity to create the legal framework for such a data space, given its common legislature.
This means public, high-quality data should be made available to everyone from , companies to NGOs to scientific institutions to the man on the street – offering complete transparency.
In addition to the legal framework already mentioned, a suitable infrastructure of servers and cloud technologies is required to store and process such amounts of data.
Of course, solutions for cyber security have to be worked on at the same time , since such a data room also represents a high potential security risk.
A future for artificial intelligence (AI)
In addition to the data strategy, the future AI strategy is also an important topic in the White Paper. T
he EU Commission is relying on the cooperation of the private and public sectors so that small and medium-sized companies can also trust the technology. This means that accessibility and risk aversion are of paramount importance, especially in sensitive application areas such as health, traffic or the police.
This is to be guaranteed with a high degree of transparency, so that citizens can trust AI systems. One example is the use of facial recognition software, which is currently only permitted in the EU in special exceptional cases.
Tackling climate change
The EU Commission also addressed the EU climate target in its AI and data strategy. Europe is to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 .
Here, too, digital technologies can help – for example, through increased energy efficiency through AI systems that track local peak loads or intelligent heating. The previously mentioned new server farms for the European data area are also to run on green electricity.
Will Brexit means the UK misses out?
It’s still unclear how Brexit will affect the UK, but it will no longer have a say in EU policy plans like this.