Política Exterior
“Europa y la inteligencia artificial. ¿Es demasiado tarde?” by Josep Piqué

The future of Artificial Intelligence in Europe

The former Minister of Science and Technology of Spain and current editor of the magazine Política Exterior, Josep Piqué, published an article in the same magazine analyzing the role of the European Union in the digital revolution that Artificial Intelligence represents, led by the U.S. and China. The key to not be lagging behind is to use Europe's influence as "undisputed rule setter" to reflect European values in data protection or monopolistic "abuses" by large technology companies. 

Despite the absence of large technology companies or a Silicon Valley or Shenzhen to attract talent and business generation in Europe, Josep Piqué believes that this "does not necessarily mean being left out of the game" in Artificial Intelligence, especially if we take into account the following factors: 

  • Interesting potential market. The EU has 450 million people, with a GDP similar to that of the US, and has sectors that are world leaders and key to digital development. Among these sectors: automotive, infrastructure (telecommunications, energy, water), trade and tourism or banking and finance.
  • Influence as a regulator and promoter of European values. The construction of this powerful market "serves as a lever for another possibility, already tested, of being an indispensable actor in defining standards, rules and ethical criteria." The EU's role as a regulator gives the opportunity to reflect European values "on the limits in AI applications and in the use of data, mitigating risks of biased and interested use by public authorities." Piqué gives as an example the Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and also considers that the current proposal of the European Commission for a Regulation of Artificial Intelligence goes "in the right direction", although for now they are "only guidelines that need more concreteness".
  • European Industrial Strategy in the recovery plan, based on the green and digital transition. This plan will require large investments and relocations in European territory of activities where Europe depends on the outside (energy, automobile and sustainable mobility) but "we cannot neglect the need to invest in R+D+i, and in new digital technologies, including AI developments”.
  • Reputation of Big Tech. The arrival of Biden may be a "revulsive" in this regard. The conversation about accumulation of power by big tech is starting to grow widely in the U.S. along with concerns about "their poor fiscal commitment, which is no longer unique to Europe."

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