“World” editorial. If the European Union (EU) has still not been able to bring out its Google, its Amazon or its Facebook, it remains one of the main economic and industrial zones of the world and intends to use this potential to promote its interests in artificial intelligence (AI). Wednesday, February 19, the European Commission will unveil its plans to oversee the deployment of this technology, of which the Old Continent will be one of the main areas of application.
AI is based on the use of billions of data, which allow machines to learn how to continually improve their task. It constitutes one of the major challenges of the coming years which will profoundly transform the way of producing, consuming, being informed, entertained, moving around or caring for oneself. For the best, say the Gafam (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft), who have built their power through the use of personal data and who are betting big on this new step now concerning data generated by companies.
In recent days, most of the leaders of American internet giants have paraded in Brussels to make their arguments heard. They fear that too strict European regulations will slow down their growth and curb innovation. For years, however, the latter was able to express herself freely. With the result we know. Silicon Valley has largely taken advantage of the laxity of legislators and regulators to develop technologies that it could not or did not want to control. The spread of disinformation on social networks and the proliferation of invasions of privacy show that the trust placed in them was largely undue.
We can see that regulating, a posteriori, the market for personal data proves to be complicated, even if the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is now widely accepted, including in the United States. This is why it is essential, this time, that the European Commission anticipates the framing of a technology which is only at its beginnings, but which is about to be deployed at high speed in the months to come. If AI is a promising innovation, it is also a source of risk for individuals, by entrusting to complex algorithms a multitude of decisions which will impact our daily lives.
This regulatory work will be all the more effective as the EU will be able to occupy all its place in the control of AI. This implies being able to create a single data market, with rules applying to foreign players who wish to operate in Europe. It is also necessary to master the infrastructures. 5G networks is one of the few areas in which Europe has technological know-how capable of competing with the Chinese. We must give ourselves the means to push this advantage. Finally, it is essential that the EU knows how to bring out major European projects to build the industrial platforms of tomorrow.
The EU has the potential to succeed provided that the member states are aware of the challenges and are finally ready to move forward together in this strategic area. After being left behind in the area of personal data, Europe cannot afford to miss the turn of AI. The control of his destiny depends on it.