The European Commission has published a long-awaited blueprint that is set to transform Europe’s digital future.
The Commission has laid out three key digital objectives to be achieved in the next five years, hoping to produce technology that works effectively for all people; to promote a fair and competitive economy; and to maintain an open, democratic and sustainable society.
The White Paper discloses the Commission’s plans to advance the deployment of AI – including by smaller and medium-sized enterprises – and working with Member States and the research community to attract and retain top tech talent within the EU.
When it comes to data, the report explores how it can be used to solve diverse societal issues – from traffic jams to disaster relief – but proposes that countries are not yet harnessing the true power and potential of data. The report calls for greater levels of business-to-government data sharing for the public interest.
The Commission feels that citizens, businesses and organisations should be empowered to make better, data-informed decisions, stating that data should be made available and accessible to all.
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The AI White Paper is now open for public consultation and the Commission is gathering feedback on the data strategy, with a Digital Services Act and a European Democracy Action Plan scheduled for later this year.
The Open Knowledge Foundation, which campaigns for a fair, free and open digital future, has welcomed the announcements, also warning that the UK risks falling behind in its digital progression.
“This long-awaited blueprint for Europe’s digital landscape is very welcome and a giant step forward for a fair, free and open future. This is the greatest opportunity and challenge of our lifetimes,” said Catherine Stihler, chief executive of the Open Knowledge Foundation.
“AI is going to transform the way we work and live, so it is vital to get it right and ensure that people have the skills to make Europe a world leader in human-centric and ethical AI. Today, there is so much data that could be used to address the climate crisis, health inequalities and poverty, but we need that data to be open and shared so that it can be used for the public good.
“It’s clear that the European Commission is ready to lead the world when it comes to our digital future.
“This presents a major challenge for the UK following Brexit, and there is now a very real risk of being left behind, with an impact on the economy, jobs and public wellbeing.”