EuropeanAI Newsletter
Covering the Artificial Intelligence ecosystem in Europe.

Welcome to the newsletter that covers the European AI ecosystem. Click here to read last week's issue. Share the subscription link if you enjoy the newsletter! Thoughts? I'm reachable here.

Last week, I published a survey of the European Union's AI ecosystem, discussing strategy, talent, funding and collaboration. Take a look here. While this is certainly more of a reflection on politicians rather than on the political prowess of AI, one in three people surveyed (UK, Netherlands and Germany) would trust AI over politicians.

Europe might get a commissioner for AI. Google receives a fine of € 1.49bn for breaking EU antitrust rules. In total Google has now been fined € 8.07bn. The European Defence Fund (EDF) has officially received a budget of € 525m for the next two years to co-finance joint defence industrial projects. The fully developed EDF will come into force in 2021. The European Political Strategy Centre published a report of their High-level hearing on 'A European Union Strategy for Artificial Intelligence'.

Policy, Strategy and Regulation

Malta's AI ambitions

After a successful blockchain strategy, Malta now hopes to develop a national AI strategy that would catapult it into one of the world's top 10 nations tackling AI. To that end, it’s currently conducting a public consultation on its proposed policy suggestions. Setting itself aside from other regions, Malta hones in on the opportunity of acting as a global test bed for AI related pilot projects (incl. prototyping, testing and scaling AI products).

The strategy itself is built on three strategic pillars: (1) investment, start-ups and innovation, (2) public sector adoption, and (3) private sector adoption. These are supported by e.g. an updated education system (incl. MOOCS), an evaluation of the commercial and social impact as well as opportunities of AI, the deployment of AI across government services to improve citizen’s experience, and the establishment of an ethical and legal framework. The latter will take account of the Asilomar Principles, the values and principles outlined in the Charter of Fundamental rights, as well as the upcoming Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI from the AI HLEG. The consultation is open until the 22nd April.

Austria's push towards an AI strategy: AIM Austria 2030

The Austrian Council for Robotics and AI published a paper outlining their suggestions for the next steps of Austria’s AI strategy process (Artificial Intelligence Mission Austria 2030). While the overall content remains fairly vague, key to the document is the suggestion that the Austrian AI strategy should refer to the European Commission’s Coordinated Plan on AI, as well as the AI HLEG Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI. The initial White Paper from the Council is also expected to guide aspects of the strategy in terms of ethics and societal concerns. The paper touches upon the importance of a transparent governance and decision-making procedure throughout strategy development process. 

Beyond this paper, there are currently seven working groups delving into AI relevant areas in more depth. This research phase will be followed by a public consultation. Austria is expected to publish the strategy in the summer, in accordance to the European Commission's proposed timeframe.

The UK's two year plan: no, not Brexit (CDEI)

The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI), an independent advisory body to the UK government tasked with analysing and anticipating opportunities and risk associated with data-driven technologies, recently published its 2 year strategy. Interestingly, the UK government is bound to publicly respond to each recommendation put forward by the CDEI.

The 2019/20 work programme will focus on online targeting and bias and support the government through compiling reviews, reports and recommendations. In addition, the CDEI will develop an ongoing analysis of high priority opportunities and risks (informing areas of current and future focus) through workshops and seminars involving key stakeholders, such as academia, civil society and industry. The CDEI will work across government, build an international profile, and aim to be inclusive of civil society. It will also work with regulators to ensure the development of accurate policy suggestions.

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