European Commission invests up to 1.5 billion euros extra in research into AI

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In the period 2018 to 2020, the European Commission is investing up to 1.5 billion euros extra in an EU research and innovation programme. The hope is that this will enable the public and private sectors in the EU to increase their investment in AI research.

The amount of up to €1.5 billion over the next 2.5 years will be invested in Horizon 2020, the EU’s largest research and innovation programme. With this, the Commission hopes that an additional amount of EUR 2.5 billion will be released under existing public-private partnerships, such as in the field of robotics. Ultimately, this should lead to a joint investment from the public and private sectors of a total of 20 billion euros by 2020.

According to the European Commissioner for the Digital Market, Andrus Ansip, Europe is facing new challenges due to the rise of artificial intelligence. He wants the challenges to be tackled jointly by Europe ‘to ensure that AI is a success’. Ansip also wants the EU to be a frontrunner in the development of artificial intelligence. Furthermore, the Commissioner said that the Commission will give researchers a boost with the additional investment and enable them to develop the next generation of AI technologies and applications. In addition, the supervisory director wants to work on improving the investment climate.

To maximize the impact of the investments, the Commission, together with Norway and 24 EU Member States, is starting a coordinated plan on artificial intelligence, which should be completed by the end of this year. This is partly based on a statement recently signed by these countries, with which the countries have agreed to work together on the development of AI.

When announcing the plans, the European Commission did not respond to a recent call from European scientists to set up a major European center dedicated to artificial intelligence research. The researchers are afraid that without such a joint center a brain drain threatens, because Europe is lagging behind China and the United States.

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