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EU to invest €1.5 billion in AI by 2020

Calls on public and private sectors to boost investment to €20 billion

The European Union is calling on both the public and private sectors to boost investment in artificial intelligence over the next two years.

It wants investment to reach €20 billion by 2020, and is investing €1.5 billion of its own.

This investment is expected to trigger an additional €2.5 billion of funding from existing public-private partnerships, for example on big data and robotics. The EU will also support the development of an “AI-on-demand platform” that will provide access to relevant AI resources in the EU for all users.

“Just as the steam engine and electricity did in the past, AI is transforming our world,” said Andrus Ansip, VP for the Digital Single Market. “It presents new challenges that Europe should meet together in order for AI to succeed and work for everyone.”

The EU said it will come up with ethical guidelines by the end of the year, including on data protection and transparency. It will also draw up guidance on the legal ramifications of defective products.

It will now begin working with member states to maximise the impact of investment at the EU and national levels, encourage cooperation across the EU, exchange best practices, and define the way forward, so as to ensure the EU’s global competitiveness in this sector. 

The Commission said it will also continue to invest in initiatives which are key for AI, including the development of more efficient electronic components and systems (such as chips specifically built to run AI operations), “world-class high-performance computers, as well as flagship projects on quantum technologies and on the mapping of the human brain.”