In May 2020, the European Commission proposed a €750 billion pan-EU stimulus plan to help Europe recover from the worst economic crisis in decades. Part of that recovery plan will involve significant investment directed towards AI research and development, as well as other high-tech investments such as 5G and renewable energy.

McKinsey Global Institute estimates Europe could see a GDP boost of between €2.7 and €3.6 trillion by 2030 (a roughly 25% increase) through the roll-out of AI technology. However, as things stand, the EU risks falling behind in the global race to develop AI technology.

At the same time, some Europeans are concerned about the risks of AI (such as the impact on the labour market, or the privacy implications of facial recognition software). In February 2020, the Commission published its White Paper on Artificial Intelligence, aimed at promoting AI across Europe while addressing the risks. Does Europe have the right approach to AI? How can it avoid falling behind other regions of the globe? And how can AI transform Europe’s economy in a sustainable fashion as we look to exit the crisis?

On Wednesday 1 July 2020 at 09:00 CEST, Debating Europe streamed a debate on the role of Artificial Intelligence in the European economic recovery. We put questions and comments sent in from our readers to a panel of experts.

Taking part on the panel:

  • Axel Voss, Member of the European Parliament (EPP, Germany)
  • Matt Brittin, President, EMEA Business & Operations, Google
  • Luisa Franceschetti, CEO, Saccheria Franceschetti
  • Andrea Renda, Senior Research Fellow and Head of Global Governance, Regulation, Innovation & Digital Economy (CEPS)

Europe’s economic recovery: Should AI lead the way? What role should Artificial Intelligence play? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

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8 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    EU Reform- Proactive

    AI is a leaderless tool without appropriate leaders. Only leaders with the “right” mind & foresight can lead and chart the way into the future.

    4-5 yearly elections are economic disruptions, but a political necessity to be called a democracy. Diverse political parties hardly invest enough effort to produce long term plans- while the EU annual budget spans over 3 years. Not knowing who is next to jump the EU ship makes matters even worse.,budget%20and%20takes%20several%20months

    The Chinese plan 100 years ahead. “The Hundred-‐Year Marathon”!
    One needn’t spell out the obvious! Rather listen, digest & hope for the best-
    since praying in the EU has already been abolished some time ago.

    DE’s- “Should AI lead the way?”- will mean that 99 percent of today’s humans are destined to become redundant & useless in the future.

    Q: What does one do with all these surplus humans, an outdated & redundant workforce? I only focus on the first world- never mind the rest. Global governance? With ever-increasing hardships & inequalities. Wishful thinking!
    Global- but something else!

    “In the 21st century, we might witness the creation of a massive new unworking class: people devoid of any economic, political, or even artistic value, who contribute nothing to the prosperity, power, and glory of society. This “useless class” will not merely be unemployed — it will be unemployable.”

  2. avatar

    Humans are inherently biased. Biases help us make sense of the world, categorise it and critically simplify it. Given our biases, do you think we can create AI that is not biased or will AI will be biased like its creators?

  3. avatar

    I feel like in the worst economic crisis in decades, the last thing we need is robots to replace our jobs…

  4. avatar
    EU Reform-Proactive

    Came, saw & listened to Europe’s recovery plan! Thank you.
    All good & well, but:

    Does the DE speak on behalf of Europe (CoE47) & if- since when- or the EU27?

    Does McKinsey make a distinction between Europe47 & EU27 in their projections?

    Is McKinsey’s “could see a boost of Europe’s GDP of €2.7 and €3.6 trillion by 2030 of 25% due to AI rollout”- based on the EU27 or the CoE47 economies?

    Is the mixing of the names Europe & EU done on purpose, coincidental, or is it hinting at the final EU47, one USE?

    Is it correct that a 25% GDP increase to 2030 translates into a ~2.5%/annum average growth? Very impressive.

    The EU GDP stats show an average of ~0.50% GDP growth over the past 10 years. Considering the AI impact, the experts arrive at an additional 2.5%. Projecting the next 10 years rate at 0.5+2.5= 3%/annum- or?. That is near China or US growth figures- Never averaged in EU Wonderland!

    Isn’t it probable, once businesses become unprofitably & replaced by new ones, some equilibrium occurs? Growth cannot be infinite and is skewed by inflation and other unforeseen factors (Covid-19 etc.). Should AI increase GDP by 2.5%, something else will disappear or decrease by maybe -2.5% or even more- possible?

    Please don’t forget the AI effect on the many visible & invisible politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists & many other institutions. Equality demands, nobody can be spared the enjoyment of AI, when AI infects everything & everyone.

    It is no secret that Google generates its revenue through its advertising services called Ads and AdSense.
    Why not use AI in-house and curtail Google’s advertising might, despite their comparative advantage in that field?

    I believe the buzzy AI is a craze & used as a political excuse & promise. Instead, isn’t it just a normal progression in our economy by making businesses more efficient, do more with less, possibly grow one’s market, become more competitive & hopefully make products more affordable for the consumers. That advantage will only last until everyone else on the global scene draws level. Then the whole circuit/circus will start once more.

    Example railway: its progress over the last 100-200 years:

    I wouldn’t count AI as a savior for an established economy. It is only a progression & improvement from doing “things” differently to yesteryear. Most in the northern hemisphere are traveling on the same train- some faster, some a bit slower!

    If the EU would- instead of new regulations- suggest having invented and intent to build the fastest communication and commuter rail network in the world, produce the cheapest electricity, create the best schools, training & R&D, take tourists to the moon and safely back or have developed a cure for all known sicknesses or/and challenge China in her race to dominate the world- then one would be impressed and could look at the EU27 in awe.

  5. avatar

    Antwerp Belgium hello lovely evening Beautiful Van Avon, thanks everything Europe

  6. avatar

    I do not believe in anything anymore . .money leads the world ..

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