European Commission pledges €2bn for “cloud alliance”

Joe McGrath |

The European Commission has committed €2 billion to create an EU “cloud alliance” as it seeks to set global standards on technological development while bolstering the use of artificial intelligence.

The investment is part of an overarching strategy to boost the development of AI technologies and make the most of the region’s industrial data sets.

Over the next five years, the Commission will focus on three key objectives to promote technological solutions – technology that works for the people; a fair and competitive economy; and an open, democratic and sustainable society.

These, it claimed, will help the region in providing a digital transformation that works for the benefit of the people.

The ‘European Strategy for Europe – Fit for the Digital Age’ initiative was introduced by commissioner Thierry Breton this week when he addressed the European Parliament.

As part of the initiative, the European Commission has also produced a whitepaper on artificial intelligence and the European Strategy for Data which it plans to use to inform its legislative framework.

Mr Breton told the European Parliament that within the next decade “there will be 500 billion connected items over the planet and great dataset will emerge”.

He added that the purpose of the strategy is to “increase levels of trust” which should lead to better acceptance of AI technologies, something many consumers still consider to be a risk to personal privacy rights.

The White Paper on Artificial Intelligence is open for public consultation until May 19, 2020 and feedback will help in the development of the regulatory framework which is expected to be finalised towards the end of 2020.

In 2018, the Commission presented an AI strategy for the first time, and agreed a coordinated plan with Member States. The High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence presented their Ethics Guidelines on trustworthy AI in April 2019.