European Commission presents a Coordinated Plan on AI

The European Commission has presented a Coordinated Plan to foster the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI) in Europe. The plan was prepared by the Commission in co-operation with EU member states, Norway, and Switzerland. The document notes that Europe is lagging behind in private investments in AI, and without significant efforts, the EU ‘risks losing out on the opportunities offered by AI’. In this context, the plan focuses on the need for strengthened co-operation among all involved parties in several key areas: encouraging more investments and financing for start-ups and innovative small and medium-sized enterprises; increasing excellence in trustworthy AI technologies and broad diffusion; adapting learning and training programmes and systems to better prepare the society for AI; building an European data space for AI for Europe; developing ethical guidelines, while also ensuring an innovation-friendly legal framework; and tackling security-related aspects of AI applications. The high-level group on AI previously established by the Commission is expected to publish the first version of AI ethics guidelines by the end of 2018, and the final version in March 2019, after extensive consultations. Another important element of the document is that EU member states are encouraged to develop national AI strategies by mid-2019.