European Parliament adopted the final recommendations of the Special Committee
on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA) on Tuesday, May 3rd,
2022. The latter notes that the EU is lagging behind the global competition for
technology leadership and the development of artificial intelligence. While
MEPs want the EU to become a global standard-setter in this area, the EU needs
to step up its game to make up for the significant gap to achieve
this goal and do so quickly.
We have already written about what AI is and how it works. We have already presented some practical examples, such as using artificial intelligence to optimise processes in supply chain management and helping save wildlife and our planet. However, this time, we will look at this area from a slightly more regional perspective.
What is the
EU doing to achieve leadership in artificial intelligence, and what
opportunities does it have? Which countries lead in this ‘game’, and do we
already have a winner? What are the goals of the National Programme for the
Promotion of Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence in the Republic of
Slovenia by 2025 (NpUI)?
of the AIDA Special Committee
months of gathering insights on artificial intelligence, the Special Committee
on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA) proposed an EU Roadmap for
AI in its final report, which European Parliament adopted on May 3rd,
2022. The roadmap offers a holistic approach for a standard, long-term approach
to artificial intelligence based on fundamental EU values and objectives.
The report states that the EU has fallen behind in AI development, research, and investment and needs to step up its game as AI is essential for the EU’s digital transformation and will continue to have an ever-growing impact on the economy and day-to-day life. Based on what has been written, the public debate on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) should focus on the technology’s enormous potential to complement human labour.
identified policy options that could unlock AI’s potential in health, the
environment and climate change, help combat pandemics and global hunger, and
enhance people’s quality of life through so-called personalised medicine. They
also explained that artificial intelligence, combined with the necessary
support infrastructure, education, and training, can increase capital and
labour productivity, innovation, sustainable growth, and job creation.
Risks associated with the
use of an AI system
European Parliament’s plenary session, MEPs also highlighted some of the
potential risks associated with AI technology and called on like-minded
democracies to jointly shape this international debate. They emphasised that AI
technologies could pose important ethical and legal questions and expressed
concerns about military research and technological developments into lethal
autonomous weapon systems.
points out that some AI technologies enable the automation of information
processing at an unprecedented scale, paving the way for potential mass
surveillance and other unlawful interference in fundamental rights. MEPs note
that authoritarian regimes can use AI systems to control, exert mass surveillance
and classify their citizens or restrict freedom of movement.
“This profiling poses risks to democratic systems. The EU should therefore prioritise international cooperation with like-minded partners in order to safeguard fundamental rights and at the same time cooperate on minimising new technological threats,” the European Parliament’s website states.
Lead MEP Axel
Voss (EPP, DE) said: “With this report, we clearly show AI will be a
booster for digitalisation and a game-changer in global digital competition.
Our AI roadmap puts the EU in a position to take a global leadership role.”
that the EU now has a unique opportunity to promote a human-centric and
trustworthy approach to AI – one that is based on fundamental rights, which
manages risks while taking full advantage of the benefits AI can bring to the
whole of society. He believes we need a legal framework that allows for
innovation, a harmonised digital single market with clear standards, maximum
investment, and a robust and sustainable digital infrastructure that all
citizens can access.
Critical view and a three-pronged
intelligence analyst at the strategic advisory firm Sibylline, which provides organisations
with tailored information to increase organisational resilience and decision
advantage, is a little more critical of the EU’s success. He believes that we
are still a long way off the EU’s stated ambition of being a world leader or
“standard-setter in AI”.
On the pan-European media network Euractiv, Veldhuizen wrote: “The European Union (EU) has consistently underestimated and neglected the issue of AI. The cavalier and dismissive attitude towards the subject is perhaps best exemplified by the decision to form a special rather than permanent committee [AIDA] as if issues surrounding AI are likely to fade off the radar any time soon.”
Falling behind in the global AI race means “the risk of European values being globally replaced, our companies becoming marginalised, and our living standards being drastically reduced,” the report said. Therefore, if Europe is serious about wanting to catch up with other countries in the field of AI, it must come up with an urgent plan to make up for the lost time. According to the OECD AI Policy Observatory, AI strategy documents have already been drafted by 62 countries worldwide, some of which have taken longer than others.
States, for example, published its strategy “as late as” 2019, but it
is currently attracting the most significant amount of venture capital
investment in AI firms. On the other hand, China already decided in 2018 to
become the global leader in AI by 2030 and has claimed several successes
already. For example, China created the company ByteDance, which developed the
social media phenomenon TikTok.
Last year, former Pentagon software chief Nicolas Chaillan told the Financial Times that China has won the artificial intelligence battle with the United States and was heading toward global dominance because of its technological advances. According to Western intelligence assessments, China is likely to dominate many of the critical emerging technologies within a decade or so, particularly in artificial intelligence, synthetic biology and genetics, the international news agency Reuters reported in October 2021.
Europe, instead, a coherent, unified strategy document remains elusive, and
successes have been few,” says Veldhuizen, citing an AIDA committee report
that only eight of today’s top 200 digital companies are domiciled in the EU.
These statistics give scale to the challenge facing Europe regarding AI. The
analyst at Sibylline suggests that the EU should accelerate the adoption of
artificial intelligence through a three-pronged strategy.
A three-pronged European
strategy and the Slovenian NpUI programme
priority must be to continue nurturing the European AI start-up ecosystem
through continued investments in innovation.” According to a report published
last year by the Joint Research Centre and the OECD, such investments must facilitate
the transformation of “AI concepts into successful products and services.” In
other words, investments need to be made to ensure that innovations actually
make it to market,” Veldhuizen says.
the EU is serious about catching up on AI adoption, a crucial second pillar of
its strategy must be to encourage importing ready-made solutions from reliable
trading partners such as the US and UK.” Adopting tried and tested
innovations from abroad makes sense, especially if they can bridge existing
gaps in AI adoption or capabilities.
“The third objective
of the EU’s strategy should be a unified approach. While several countries
within the EU27 are yet to publish their national AI strategies, the EU should
already be at work to achieve a coherent synthesis of these policy papers,”
stated Veldhuizen. Only by working together can the EU take the lead in AI,
which could strengthen their calls for ethical guidelines and regulations surrounding
What is the situation for artificial intelligence in Slovenia? At the end of May 2021, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopted and approved the National Programme for the Promotion of the Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence in the Republic of Slovenia until 2025 (NpUI). “With the adoption of the national programme, Slovenia has joined the EU countries, which have already prepared national strategic guidelines in the field of artificial intelligence and committed to joint cooperation in this field at the EU level,” written on the gov.si website. Slovenia will build on its many years of experience and knowledge from our experts in this field.
The objectives of the NpUI program are to establish adequate support for research and use of artificial intelligence through enhanced and systematic networking of relevant stakeholders, which will be achieved through education and financial incentives for the public and private sectors. The programme also aims to strengthen technological and industrial capacity in the AI area, respond to socio-economic changes such as changes in the labour market and educational system, provide an appropriate ethical and legal framework and increase citizens’ confidence in artificial intelligence.
Author: Rok Žontar
Keywords: AI, European Union, strategy, AIDA, NpUI.
article is part of joint project of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European
Studies and the Anton Korošec Institute (INAK) Following the path of
digitalization in Slovenia and Europe. This project receives funding from the
and views set out in this article are those of the author and do not
necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union
institutions/Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies/ Anton Korošec
Institute. Organizations mentioned above assume no responsibility for facts or
opinions expressed in this article or any subsequent use of the information