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Europe is failing to catch up with the USA and China in the development of artificial intelligence

TECHNOLOGYEurope is failing to catch up with the USA and China in the development of artificial intelligence

The United States leads the world in artificial intelligence (AI) development, heavily investing in the creation and implementation of new solutions. Following closely are China, where on one hand mobile applications and useful algorithms are being developed, and on the other, the highly controversial social scoring system is in place, where even the company a citizen keeps could influence their credit rating. The European Union has taken a regulatory approach, evidenced by the recent adoption of the AI Act, which aims to eliminate pathological AI development directions. However, experts fear that during the implementation phase in member countries, overregulation could occur, which would slow down the development of this market. Meanwhile, the field in which European companies have many advantages is the application of AI in industry.

“The European Union is quite lackluster in comparison with China or the United States. If we look at the scale of investments, the United States leads. After some regulation of this market by China, they have weakened a bit, but still, the European Union is far from second place. From a research perspective, we are doing very well. In Europe, many studies and discoveries in algorithms and AI solutions are being made, but they are not well commercialized. Secondly, we are not building the scale that the single digital market provides, often over-regulating the AI sector in individual countries,” Piotr Mieczkowski, a board member of the European AI Forum and managing director of the Digital Poland Foundation, evaluates in an interview with Newseria Innovations.

According to Grand View Research, the global artificial intelligence market was worth nearly $197 billion in 2023. By 2030, the average annual growth rate will exceed 37%, which means the decade will close with revenues reaching $1.8 trillion. North America is the largest player in the market, accounting for 36.8% of the share. Analysts believe this is due to the fact that the USA invests in AI research and development, creates specialized institutes and research centers, and funds AI-related projects. They also utilize AI in many fields, such as enhancing public safety and transportation and promoting innovation in healthcare.

Experts expect significant growth in the AI market in the Asia-Pacific region. The AI market in China is diverse and includes various applications such as natural language processing, robotics, autonomous vehicles, and virtual assistants. With a large population and therefore vast data resources, China creates favorable conditions for the development and implementation of artificial intelligence technologies.

“Whether we have a chance to catch up with the USA and China depends on how the AI Act is implemented, whether it will be uniform across the European Union and indeed only pertains to a few, relatively defined deployment scenarios and certain cases that are defined in the AI Act. Because if not, and we go into very strong regulation in individual countries, then we again won’t build that scale,” believes Piotr Mieczkowski.

In mid-March, the European Parliament adopted the AI Act, a regulation on artificial intelligence. The new EU regulations are intended to facilitate the implementation of new technologies based on AI but also eliminate those that threaten security and privacy of citizens, such as social scoring. Although catching up with the USA and China in consumer AI applications, such as in mobile apps, will be difficult, there are fields in which Europe can compete for a leadership position.

“The European Union stands strong in automotive, energy, and industry in general. Therefore, if algorithms are appropriately applied in industry, such as automating travel—I’m talking about autonomous vehicles, autonomous transport, or better management in the energy market, particularly in renewable energy sources, then this is our niche and currently the European Union has an advantage,” notes the European AI Forum expert. “However, we must also look at the actions of China, which has heavily subsidized the automotive sector, especially electric cars, which are strongly entering the European market, and the European Union has started to impose tariffs to raise the prices of these products from Asia. Thus, there is a risk that in this automotive sector, the Union may lose its leading position.”

The AI Act is so new that it is difficult to predict the directions the resulting regulations will ultimately take. It remains open whether it will be possible to uniformly adjust national legislation to it. This also depends on whether the European AI Council achieves a good model of cooperation with the responsible authorities selected in the individual states.

“This act, while likely to prohibit certain scenarios of using algorithms, especially in the area of biometrics, will not significantly slow down business. What I fear, and what resonates in conversations with my colleagues from France, Spain, Germany, or Scandinavia, is the overregulation of this sector in additional elements not defined in the regulation. The key is not to add more regulations by national regulators and legislators, but to stick to the provisions of the regulation itself, prepared by MEPs and the European Commission in Brussels,” convinces Piotr Mieczkowski.

At the end of last year, the Digital Poland Foundation surveyed the Polish public’s attitude towards artificial intelligence—its development, impact on the job market

, trust in it, and regulation. From the report “Technology at the Service of Society. Will Poles Become a Society 5.0? 2023 Edition,” it appears that according to four out of ten respondents, current legal regulations are not sufficient for the proper development or safety of artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, one in five believes that entrepreneurs, specialists, and scientists should continue to develop AI systems through so-called self-regulation. Nearly half of the society (46%) is in favor of the European Union, including Poland, significantly regulating the development and use of artificial intelligence, even at the cost of losing development and becoming dependent on the United States and China. Men (52% vs. 41% of women) and those knowledgeable about AI (54% vs. 36% of those without knowledge of AI) more often hold this view. A high percentage—41%—have no opinion on the matter, and only 13% of respondents have a different opinion. In the eyes of Polish society, the United States and China are the best countries in terms of the level of research and development on AI (61-64%). The European Union ranks third with a result of 36%.

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