Is the EU investing too little in AI?


Artificial intelligence

May 29, 2024, 9:25 AM | Source: dpa / Editor: Sabine Narloch

Artificial intelligence is considered a key technology of the future. Although the EU is investing in this area, the AI ​​investment gap between the US and the EU has widened. Is Europe losing touch?

The EU has failed to keep up with the world’s leading players in artificial intelligence (AI) investment in recent years, the European Court of Auditors has found. “The EU’s AI investment increased steadily between 2018 and 2020,” says a report by the Luxembourg-based authority published on Wednesday. Nevertheless, the gap in AI investment between the US and the EU, which affects both the public and private sectors, is estimated to have more than doubled during this period. “The EU is lagging behind by more than €10 billion,” the Court said. US government agencies and private companies have invested significantly more money.


Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also shows that the EU will continue to underperform the US and China in AI venture capital investment in 2021 and 2022, the Court said.


AI investments from the EU budget have reportedly increased. A spokesperson for the European Commission stressed that more than one billion euros are already invested annually in AI research projects. However, according to the Court, the EU funds represented only a small part of the confederation’s total public and private investments in AI.


Examiner: EU investment targets are outdated


According to the Court, a lack of ambition in the investment targets “is at odds with the goal of building a globally competitive AI ecosystem”. The EU’s investment targets have remained unchanged since 2018 and are therefore outdated. While the confederation of states was still aiming for public and private investments in AI of EUR 20 billion for the entire period 2018 to 2020, such a contribution was planned every year for the next ten years, according to the authority.


The Court of Auditors believes it is important to invest in artificial intelligence. “Major and targeted investments in AI will have a decisive impact on economic growth in the EU in the coming years,” emphasises Mihails Kozlovs, the Member of the Court of Auditors responsible for the audit.


Depending on the Member State, the share of companies using AI varies greatly. “France and Germany have announced the largest public investments in AI, while four countries still do not have AI strategies,” the Court said. It is important to agree with the Member States on how their investments will help achieve the EU objectives.


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