By Amber Dhert, Marketing Executive Advanced Solutions
As a 24-year old, I will have been one of the last generations who knew what it was like not to grow up with technology surrounding me. When I was younger, and e-mail and the internet were on the rise, I remember my mother was quite convinced it wouldn’t last. Little did I know that technology, and specifically AI, was not only going to transform the world as we know it, but eventually grow out to be a multiple trillion euro industry annually, as well.
We’ve all seen those movies where Artificial Intelligence is part of day to day life, and we’re all familiar by the concept by now. An AI system uses and feeds off of data to analyze environments, make predictions to ultimately act autonomously, performing all kinds of tasks. Needless to say, our society is about to board a ship with a new course, but are we prepared for the change that comes with it? That is exactly why Europe has issued a statement, promising heavy investments and seting into place regulations to increase their worldwide competitiveness. Good move, Europe. We do really need to up the ante, since we’re currently behind on investments compared to Asia and Northern America. Current predictions that this will become a multi-trillion euro industry in less than ten years is undeniable and, to Europe, of strategic value.
The fact that this will become a multi-trillion euro industry in less than ten years is of strategic value to Europe.
Europe’s statement encompasses a number of topics. Not only will there be invested in research facilities and companies that embrace Artifical Intelligence, but also in education and AI-supporting industries to stay globally relevant. Perhalps this would be a good time to add in some unequivocal campaigning to attract more women in technology and (computer) sciences, too – why not? The vastness is another plus, since all industries can benefit from AI – from transportation to healthcare, manufacturing and everything in between. Briefly said, AI will drive us to rethink and reshape jobs, industries, education and society as a whole.
Just because technology is changing and more prominent in our day-to-day lives, doesn’t mean our values will.
This all looks great so far – but there are a few hurdles. First of all, Europe wouldn’t be Europe if it weren’t fragmented in many institutions. Who will get which part of the funding and why? Another paradox is illustrated in the press release: “… as data is the raw material for most AI technologies, the Commission is proposing legislation to open up more data for re-use and measure to make data sharing easier.” Hopefully this all fits nicely into Europe’s other brand new legislation – GDPR. Still quite unknown, but on the way, are legal and ethical regulations, but Europe was very firm on one thing: just because tech is changing, that doesn’t mean our values will. However, I’m sensing that ethical compliance will be tricky in the future. For instance, who will carry end responsibility if something happens when there are casualties involved? We all remember the recent event regarding the Uber self-driving car experiments, leading them to cease their research. We’d have to make sure to recognize that pitfall of counter productivity.
We’d have to make sure that rather rash regulations work counter productively, decellerating the further development of AI.
Regardless of these hindrances, AI has the potential to make our lives easier and help us solve some of the world’s major and urgent challenges. Just a few of these examples include treating chronic diseases, fighting climate change, anticipating cybersecurity threats, preventing more traffic accidents, and vastly improving education.
So, Europe is committing to adapt – great! Total investments should be around 20 billion euros by the end of 2020. That’s less than two years away. Now I don’t know about you, but as someone new in tech industry, I was not expecting these numbers. What I do know, is that this will most likely have paradigm-altering implications for businesses all across Europe. The opportunity is now. Not tomorrow, but today. Companies are going to transform in order to adapt and embrace AI, each at its own rate and extent. That means, so should you. and so should we. Let’s prepare for an AI-filled future together.