Old world on a new mission
Wherever you go in Europe, AI is already there. In November 2018, the German government announced its national AI strategy, a draft of which had been published in the summer of 2018 already. Now the strategy has a price tag: €3bn is about to be invested by the German government over the course of six years, the first €500m of which will flow in 2019.
Germany was comparably late. In March 2018, French president Emmanuel Macron announced that his government would invest €1.5bn into AI by 2022. March 2018 also saw the publication of the White Paper ‘Artificial Intelligence at the service of the citizen’ by the Italian government’s Digital Agency. In April 2018, the UK came out with its ‘AI sector deal, worth £1bn, including £300m of private sector investment. And in May last year, Sweden released what they called their National Approach for Artificial Intelligence.
On a European level, the European Commission has published its ‘Communication on Artificial Intelligence for Europe’ in April 2018, to be debated in the European Parliament in due course. The European Commission will also increase its investments into AI under the research and development framework programme Horizon 2020 to around €1.5bn by the end of 2020.
AI: Another word for digitisation?
So what is going on in the old world? Interestingly, many European governments don’t really define what they consider to be ‘AI’. “Many topics that are called AI now were called digitisation before”, said a group leader in the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy recently, adding that he did not want to be quoted with this sentence directly.
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