White Paper on Artificial Intelligence – A European approach to excellence and trust

European AI
European AI


The European Commission is publishing its grand vision for Europe’s digital future today. There are three documents setting the stage for economic development and regulation to preserve European values in a globalized world.

The first document, “Shaping Europe’s digital future,” is the Commission’s road map for digital policy. The Commission is aiming about revamping competition rules, regulating platforms and reducing the technology sector’s carbon footprint.

The second document “A European strategy for data” documents the Commission proposal for a single market for data. By harnessing the vast troves of industrial data European companies produce, the EU hopes it can transform itself into a world leader on high-quality data that feeds artificial intelligence technologies.

The third document is an AI white paper. Citing from this paper (for full version see Ref. /3/ ).

The Commission supports a regulatory and investment-oriented approach with the twin objective of promoting the uptake of AI and of addressing the risks associated with certain uses of this new technology. The purpose of this White Paper is to set out policy options on how to achieve these objectives. It does not address +the development and use of AI for military purposes. The Commission invites the Member States, other European institutions, and all stakeholders, including industry, social partners, civil society organizations, researchers, the public in general and any interested party, to react to the options below and to contribute to the Commission’s future decision-making in this domain.

Given the major impact that AI can have on our society and the need to build trust, it is vital that European AI is grounded in our values and fundamental rights such as human dignity and privacy protection. Furthermore, the impact of AI systems should be considered not only from an individual perspective but also from the perspective of society as a whole. The use of AI systems can have a significant role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and in supporting the democratic process and social rights. With its recent proposals on the European Green Deal6, Europe is leading the way in tackling climate and environmental-related challenges. Digital technologies such as AI are a critical enabler for attaining the goals of the Green Deal. Given the increasing importance of AI, the environmental impact of AI systems needs to be duly considered throughout their lifecycle and across the entire supply chain, e.g. as regards resource usage for the training of algorithms and the storage of data.

In Summary

AI is a strategic technology that offers many benefits for citizens, companies, and society as a whole, provided it is human-centric, ethical, sustainable and respects fundamental rights and values. AI offers important efficiency and productivity gains that can strengthen the competitiveness of the European industry and improve the wellbeing of citizens. It can also contribute to finding solutions to some of the most pressing societal challenges, including the fight against climate change and environmental degradation, the challenges linked to sustainability and demographic changes, and the protection of our democracies and, where necessary and proportionate, the fight against crime.

For Europe to seize fully the opportunities that AI offers, it must develop and reinforce the necessary industrial and technological capacities. As set out in the accompanying European strategy for data, this also requires measures that will enable the EU to become a global hub for data. The European approach for AI aims to promote Europe’s innovation capacity in the area of AI while supporting the development and uptake of ethical and trustworthy AI across the EU economy. AI should work for people and be a force for good in society.

With this White Paper and the accompanying Report on the safety and liability framework, the Commission launches a broad consultation of Member States civil society, industry, and academics, of concrete proposals for a European approach to AI. These include both policy means to boost investments in research and innovation, enhance the development of skills and support the uptake of AI by SMEs, and proposals for key elements of a future regulatory framework. This consultation will allow a comprehensive dialogue with all concerned parties that will inform the next steps of the Commission.

Ref /1/: Shaping Europe’s Digital Future

Ref /2/: A European Strategy for Data

Ref /3/: White Paper On Artificial Intelligence – A European approach to excellence and trust

Gerhard Schimpf, the recipient of the ACM Presidential Award 2016, has a degree in Physics from the University of Karlsruhe. As a former IBM development manager and self-employed consultant for international companies, he has been active in ACM for over four decades. He was a leading supporter of ACM Europe, serving on the first ACM Europe Council in 2009. He was also instrumental in coordinating ACM’s spot as one of the founding organizations of the Heidelberg Laureates Forum. Gerhard Schimpf is a member of the German Chapter of the ACM (Chair 2008 – 2011) and a member of the Gesellschaft für Informatik. --oo-- Gerhard Schimpf, der 2016 mit dem ACM Presidential Award geehrt wurde, hat an der TH Karlsruhe Physik studiert. Als ehemaliger Manager bei IBM im Bereich Entwicklung und Forschung und als freiberuflicher Berater international tätiger Unternehmen ist er seit 40 Jahren in der ACM aktiv. Er war Gründungsmitglied des ACM Europe Councils und gehört zum Founders Club für das Heidelberg Laureate Forum, einem jährlichen Treffen von Preisträgern der Informatik und Mathematik mit Studenten. Gerhard Schimpf ist Mitglied des German Chapter of the ACM (Chairperson 2008 – 2011) und der Gesellschaft für Informatik.

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