With the European Commission set to launch its AI strategy next month, the European Political Strategy Centre has published this new Strategic Note. It focuses both on the opportunities arising and the ethical challenges that need to be tackled. Above all, it explores how Europe can sharpen its competitive edge vis-à-vis other leading economies, such as the United States and China.
In the words of the late Stephen Hawking, "AI [Artificial Intelligence] could be the biggest event in the history of our civilisation. Or the worst. We just don’t know". As the world stands at the cusp of this transformative technology, much is at stake. Deployed wisely, AI holds the promise of addressing some of the world’s most intractable challenges, from climate change and poverty to disease. Used in bad faith, it can lead the world on a downward spiral of totalitarianism and war, endangering – according to Hawking – the very survival of humankind itself.
"It is difficult to imagine any segment of society that will not be transformed by AI in years to come"
Finding a policy response to what is undoubtedly "the next big thing" is both urgent and challenging. Europe needs an ambitious and rapid deployment strategy, covering both business and public administration. This must go hand in hand with a world-class research and science strategy, as well as an international drive to claim its stake in what is for now a heated race between the United States and China for global dominance. In addition to creating an enabling environment for AI, Europe must use its widely recognised values and principles to build global regulatory norms and frameworks that ensure a human-centric and ethical development of this technology.