Shaping the digital future

The European Commission has today unveiled its long-awaited blueprint on shaping Europe’s digital future. The White Paper on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the European data strategy includes ideas and actions for a digital transformation that it claims is open and works for all.

Over the next five years, the Commission will focus on three key objectives in digital: technology that works for people; a fair and competitive economy, and an open, democratic and sustainable society.

In the White Paper presented today, the Commission aims to accelerate deployment of AI, including by smaller and medium-sized enterprises, and working with Member States and the research community to attract and keep talent in the EU.

On the issue of data, the separate report explains that data can solve problems from traffic jams to disaster relief, but European countries are not yet using this data to its full potential. It calls for more business-to-government data sharing for the public interest.

The Commission states that citizens, businesses and organisations should be empowered to make better decisions based on insights gleaned from non-personal data, and the data should be available to all. The White Paper on AI 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 planned for later this year.

The Open Knowledge Foundation, which campaigns for a fair, free and open digital future, has enthusiastically welcomed the announcements.

Catherine Stihler, chief executive of the Open Knowledge Foundation, said: “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.

“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."

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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