THE N(EU) WAY TO ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. Challenges and Perspectives for Southern Europe (PromethEUs Publication)

“The N(EU) Way to Artificial Intelligence. Challenges and Perspectives for Southern Europe”, this is the title of the first PromethEUs’s publication.

The idea of an “AI race” has attracted a great deal of public and academic attention in recent times. It is widely understood that China, the US and – lagging slightly behind – the EU are entangled in a competition for the development, the implementation and the regulation of a technology poised to bring about profound social and economic transformations. In the first chapter of this joint paper, we analyze the competing “AI models” of each of the three superpowers, as well as the dangers of framing the competition as a “confrontational race”. Afterwards, we justify the need for a global governance framework, and we suggest an approach based on core and extended principles of global governance, where the EU could play a major role.

Europe has to address several crucial challenges when the critical enablers for an AI transition are examined. In the second chapter, we examine the current European AI landscape, which indicates a substantial gap regarding the AI adoption between Northern and Southern Europe for several dimensions ranging from corporate digitisation and AI performance to human capital skills. Next, we thoroughly address the challenges that Europe should confront to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth through AI transition including synergies between academia and the private sector, improved infrastructure and enhancement of ICT skills, focusing on European SMEs’ transition to an AI business model by promoting clustering, digitisation and AI culture.

Since 2018, the European Union has placed the need of a common approach to AI at the heart of its digital agenda. In the third chapter of the paper, we recap the DSM strategy and take stock of the EU’s AI policies developments, from the 2018 AI Strategy to the 2019 AI HLEG Documents. Afterwards, we analyse the Von der Leyen Commission’s Digital Package and particularly the AI White Paper (February 2020), aimed at establishing a regulatory and investment-oriented approach with the twin objective of promoting the uptake of AI and addressing the risks associated with its uses. Finally, we present our remarks on the White Paper, particularly focussing on how to foster EU innovation and a thriving ecosystem based on SMEs.

Read the full publication here

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