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AI in Europe: Chances and opportunities

Friday, 09 October 2020
This is an opinion article by an external contributor. The views belong to the writer.
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Joint Op-ed by Iban García del Blanco, MEP & Abraham Liu

Europe: Artificial Intelligence at the service of citizens (Iban García del Blanco, MEP)

The mass deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) involves a technological leap that will cause very substantial changes in the labour market, in the relationship with public authorities, in personal relationships, and even in our own domestic life.

Any technological progress raises benefits and risks – if we talk about the transformative capacity of Al, they both exist in unparalleled magnitudes. Due to its characteristics and potential, this technology will take us through vertiginous changes that would otherwise imply generations.

Fortunately, Al provides powerful tools to anticipate future pandemics – such as COVID19, which put our resilience capacity as societies on the ropes, and now it enables us better fight them by accelerating drug and vaccine research and developing state – of – the – art tracking applications.

Europe, as the regulatory superpower that claims to be, must lead the way globally. I champion for a broad public – private sectors pact, each one in the field of its competences, that enables the unimpeded promotion of technological development on the one hand, and an ecosystem of trust for the European citizens’ peace of mind on the other. The ultimate goal of Al can only be the improvement of our citizens’ lives.

Early this year, the European Commission published a White Paper on artificial intelligence together with a digital strategy -and by the end of 2020 it intends to release an all-encompassing regulation on the phenomenon.

Initiatives in this area are also being developed at the European Parliament: myself was honoured of presenting to the Legal Affairs Committee the first European legislative initiative on “Ethical aspects of artificial Intelligence, robotics and related technologies, with the intention of debating and approving a text indicating the Commission our ideas for its regulation.

Our objective is also for the design, development, control and supervision of this regulatory framework to be participated by all citizens, and especially by the most involved or affected individuals and groups. The text establishes a mandate for all national supervisory bodies – for which this regulation compels their set up, so that they indispensably and periodically are assisted by civil society.

Likewise, demanding obligations in terms of transparency and accountability are established for designers, operators and users of Al. There are also obligations of civic behaviour for users, and their protection as long as they use these technologies in good faith.

Europe wants to pioneer the legal establishment of an ethical threshold that both protects European citizens from the possible adversities that this technological evolution entails, and also provides an added value of trust to European Al in the world.

An ethical threshold consistent with our European principles and values, reflected in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and congruent with our civilizing project. A legislation inspired by a humanistic and human – centric approach in technological development. A regulation applicable to both, Al developed in Europe and to anyone willing to operate in the Union.

The sector’s planning should not be left off to the market’s self-regulation (I assert the need of a public involvement that safeguards objectives beyond economic profits), but I believe some leeway is needed for operators and hat they assume the need for an ethical pact in its development. Otherwise, grasping such a complex and ever changing reality will be impossible.

By Ibán Garcíadel Blanco, MEP

A more inclusive and intelligent world thanks to Artificial Intelligence (Abraham Liu)

We take Artificial Intelligence (AI) development seriously at Huawei. We are well aware of the huge impact this technology will have on our society: this is why we are working to ensure Artificial Intelligence is deployed in a way that will enhance our lives, rather than generate negative effects.

Policymakers around the world need to ensure that its use and rollout continues smoothly in areas in which it has already demonstrated a positive impact. The right regulatory framework and financial investments are key in this respect.

Huawei believes that AI is a core technology which will have a profound impact on the future of mankind.

Thanks to the advancements of connectivity, in particular 5G, AI can operate in scenarios requiring high bandwidth and low latency. Moreover, the computing power has extended from data centres to the edge. Huawei expects there will be more than 150 billion smart devices connected to the networks by 2025.

Such rapid growth requires ample support in talent and investment: Huawei announced in 2019 that we would be investing EUR100 million in the AI Ecosystem Program in Europe within five years, helping industry organizations, 200,000 developers, 500 ISV partners, and 50 universities and research institutes boost innovation.

We are establishing ICT academies around the world and we are bringing the latest digital technologies to all parts of the globe; cultivating local talent and equipping them with the skills they will need in the digital era.

Letting Artificial Intelligence roll-out in education would bring major positive outcomes. For a better educated world, AI is absolutely one of the most impressive game-changers this century.

It is important to build trust in AI through awareness and promotion of digital skills, and in AI knowledge by incorporating new ways to learn about AI and ICTs in primary and higher education curricula,s and by providing EU-wide free data, statistics, and AI courses for all – both adults and children.

There is a need for an inclusive, lifelong learning-based and innovation-driven approach to AI education and training, to help people transition between jobs seamlessly.

By increasing cooperation and coordination between the public and private sector and by allowing the workforce to switch between different careers and sectors, the flexibility and resilience of the workforce will be strengthened.

Let’s embrace all the positive effects AI will have on our society and stand united against stigmatization and discrimination. With a clear strategy, Artificial Intelligence will not only bring about more inclusion, but it will ensure fairer societies and truly leave no one behind.

By Abraham Liu, Huawei Chief Representative to the EU Institutions