EU sets out path for societal digital transformation

By William Smith
The European Union (EU) has released a report recommending approaches to the digital transformation of European society. “Today we are presenting our...

The European Union (EU) has released a report recommending approaches to the digital transformation of European society.

“Today we are presenting our ambition to shape Europe's digital future,” said the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. “It covers everything from cybersecurity to critical infrastructures, digital education to skills, democracy to media. I want that digital Europe reflects the best of Europe – open, fair, diverse, democratic, and confident.”

Focuses include implementing a coherent data strategy (building on the likes of GDPR) and the “human-centric” development of AI.

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Commissioner for Internal Market,Thierry Breton, said: “Our society is generating a huge wave of industrial and public data, which will transform the way we produce, consume and live. I want European businesses and our many SMEs to access this data and create value for Europeans – including by developing Artificial Intelligence applications. Europe has everything it takes to lead the ‘big data' race, and preserve its technological sovereignty, industrial leadership and economic competitiveness to the benefit of European consumers.”

The EU is just one of a number of governments seeking to regulate the hitherto unfettered explorations of technology firms. In the US, President Trump last year signed an executive order announcing a national strategy on artificial intelligence.

Private companies are also increasingly putting to writing firm guidelines dictating their relationship with technology as they are increasingly digitised. German manufacturing giant Bosch just announced an artificial intelligence (AI) ethics policy, which reflects the company’s ambition to have all of its products either contain AI or have been developed with the assistance of the technology by 2025.
 

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