AI in general 1, 2018

Coordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence

European Union


European Commission


Investment, Labour market effects, Security, Trust, Data quality


The document describes AI as a transformational technology that is fundamentally reshaping the world. Building on the principles of the European Strategy published in April 2018, as well as the declaration of cooperation on AI among the Member States, the Commission puts forward a coordinated plan on AI. This coordination extends to “investment, excellence in and diffusion of AI, data availability, societal challenges, ethics and the regulatory framework.”
The Commission and Member States will both increase investment in AI to reach €20 billion/year over the next decade. The Commission is increasing the H2020 AI allocation by 70% and will dedicate €1 billion / year to AI R&D in the next multiannual financial framework.
Member States are encouraged to develop their own national AI strategies based on national characteristics. Such strategies should describe the level of investment and planned measures of implementation.
To maximise investment, the Commission will develop a common strategic research and innovation agenda for AI, with support starting in 2020. This large-scale public-private partnership is expected to foster collaboration between academia and industry across Europe. The Commission will also increase investment in AI and blockchain startups. Disruptive innovation will be supported through a €100 million fund by a European Innovation Council pilot (2019-2020) focusing on areas like human-centric AI. Member States are encouraged to explore various mechanisms to support SMEs in their adoption of AI, such as loans, grants and innovation vouchers.
The European research base will also be strengthened and extended through the funding of new AI excellence centers. World-reference testing corridors and large-scale pilots for the integration of AI in energy, healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture and geo-information will also be developed. In addition, the Commission will invest €200 million under the ECSEL Joint Undertaking to integrate AI in its manufacturing, mobility and personalised medicine lighthouse projects. Beyond 2020 €1.5 billion will be made available to establish testing and experimentation sites for AI products and services across Europe, and it is expected that Member States will match this investment.
AI take-up by the public and private sector will be supported by the network of Digital Innovation Hubs and the European Institute of Technology.
In order to ensure the availability of sufficient AI talent in Europe, the Commission puts forward recommendations for Member States and will engage in a series of activities itself. Member States are encouraged to exchange best practices on retaining talent (e.g. through the Blue Card system) and on re- and upskilling the workforce. They should also prominently include the skills dimension in their national strategies, map the specificities of their labour markets and devise measures to be more inclusive in attracting people to AI fields, explore ways of integrating AI in secondary and tertiary education curricula, and focus on life-long learning as well.
Using its existing instruments, like the AI excellence centres and fellowship, the Commission will work towards establishing a unique European brand in industrially-oriented PhDs in AI. It will also support the inclusion of AI modules in other disciplines and work with the Member States on awareness campaigns on the benefits of AI. Beyond 2020, it is proposed that €700 million be made available to support advanced AI and related skills at various levels, from short-term training to Master degrees. This will also provide an opportunity to mainstream the ethical principles in these training programmes.
Data is seen as a cornerstone of AI and the Commission proposes the creation of a Common European Data Space. Such a platform must contain data in formats that ensure interoperability and are open, based on FAIR principles, machine readable, standardised and documented. Member States are encouraged to identify public data sets and make them reusable across the Union, in line with the Public Sector Information Directive. Invest in tools for the aggregation, access and interoperability of datasets, including the development of APIs. This work will include the creation of data and metadata standards. The creation of a data infrastructure will be supported, which enables sandbox experimentation with data-driven services. Blockchain-based solutions are also to supported to ensure secure solutions for accessing data. 
Health is treated as a primary field of application that can benefit from applying AI. The Commission will link genomics repositories and support the development of a common database of health images to provide a larger data set for training AI systems. This will form the basis of a larger health data space to be launched in 2021. Other datasets to be made expanded are the EU’s geo-information, Earth Observation and linguistic datasets. Building on the EC’s "Towards a common European data space" initiative, which contains guidelines for the sharing of industrial and personal data, the Commission will further support next-generation digital industrial platforms and support the connection of national initiatives with EU-level activities.
The Commission will launch a Support Centre for data sharing to help the private sector with advice and best practices on data sharing and analytics.
The Commission seeks to spearhead the ethics agenda to attain a competitive edge while protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens. A final version of the High-Level Expert Group guidelines on AI will be ready by March 2019, following broad consultation through the European AI Alliance network. 
A key principle is ‘ethics by design’, which entails that key ethical and legal standards are ‘baked into’ product development from the beginning of the design process. This principle will be a part of future calls for proposals on AI by the Commission. The Commission is also assessing the suitability of existing legislation and will publish a report on the safety and liability framework for AI. Moreover, starting in 2019 the Commission will work with the Member States to conceptualise regulatory sandboxes and testing environments, which are to be established by the end of 2020.
Another key area is AI in the public sector. The Commission will scale-up current investments to expedite the adoption of AI in areas such as healthcare, transport, security and education. Member States are encouraged to explore areas for joint procurement of AI solutions and to work with the Commission on implementing AI-enabled experiments to understand the value of AI in policy-making and public services. Finally, the Member States and the Commission are planning to use AI solutions to support evidence-based policymaking in areas like climate change, environmental protection, migration, agriculture and urban development.

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