19 Feb 2020
EC presents new strategies on data and Artificial Intelligence
On 19 February 2020, the European Commission unveiled its new data strategy as well as the policy options to ensure the human-centric development of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, said: “Today we are presenting our ambition to shape Europe's digital future. It covers everything from cybersecurity to critical infrastructures, digital education to skills, democracy to media. I want that digital Europe reflects the best of Europe – open, fair, diverse, democratic, and confident.”
In the context of digital technologies, the EC will focus on three key objectives over the next five years:
- Technology that works for people;
- A fair and competitive economy; and
- An open, democratic and sustainable society.
With regard to AI, the Commission presented a White Paper where the EC envisages a framework for trustworthy Artificial Intelligence, based on excellence and trust. The EC states that "In partnership with the private and the public sector, the aim is to mobilise resources along the entire value chain and to create the right incentives to accelerate deployment of AI, including by smaller and medium-sized enterprises. This includes working with Member States and the research community, to attract and keep talent. As AI systems can be complex and bear significant risks in certain contexts, building trust is essential. Clear rules need to address high-risk AI systems without putting too much burden on less risky ones. Strict EU rules for consumer protection, to address unfair commercial practices and to protect personal data and privacy, continue to apply".
The European data strategy, the EC declares, "is to make sure the EU becomes a role model and a leader for a society empowered by data. For this, it aims at setting up a true European data space, a single market for data, to unlock unused data, allowing it to flow freely within the European Union and across sectors for the benefit of businesses, researchers and public administrations. Citizens, businesses and organisations should be empowered to make better decisions based on insights gleaned from non-personal data. That data should be available to all, whether public or private, start-up or giant".
For this purpose, the EC will first propose to establish the right regulatory framework regarding data governance, access and reuse between businesses, between businesses and government, and within administrations. Secondly, the EC aims at supporting the development of the technological systems and the next generation of infrastructures for the data economy, by contributing to investments in European High Impact projects on European data spaces and trustworthy and energy efficient cloud infrastructures. Thirdly, the Commission will launch sectoral specific actions, to build European data spaces in for instance industrial manufacturing, the green deal, mobility or health. In addition, the EC states that it will also work to further narrow the digital skills gap among Europeans, and explore how to give citizens better control over who can access their machine-generated data.
As set out in the strategy presented today, the Commission will present later this year a Digital Services Act and a European Democracy Action Plan, propose a review of the eIDAS regulation, and strengthen cybersecurity by developing a Joint Cyber Unit. The White Paper on Artificial Intelligence is now open for public consultation until 19 May 2020. The Commission is also gathering feedback on its data strategy.
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