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“Act fast”: EU lags behind US and…

“Act fast”: EU lags behind US and…

“In the race for AI, there is a risk that the winner will eventually take it all,” warn auditors from the European Court of Auditors. Lack of effective coordination with Member States.

Despite several measures, the EU lags behind the US and China in the artificial intelligence (AI) race. The EU Commission has increased spending on AI research in recent years, according to a report by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) published on Wednesday. However, it did not succeed in stimulating the corresponding private investments. According to the auditors, AI investments are very important for the economic growth of the EU.

“In the race for AI, there is a risk that the winner will eventually take it all,” warns responsible ERH auditor Mihails Kozlovs in a press release. “To achieve the EU's ambitious goals, the European Commission and EU countries must work together more effectively, act faster and make better use of the EU's potential.”

One of the main criticisms in the report is the lack of effective coordination with member states. The commission does not have the “necessary control tools and information”. In addition, many measures and regulations were implemented very slowly.

EU to “reassess” investment target

The auditors recommend that the EU Commission examine the need for an EU-funded capital support instrument focusing on innovative SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in the field of AI. In addition, the use of the results of EU-funded AI research should be further promoted. The ECA also recommends “reassessing the EU investment target for AI and agreeing with Member States how they can contribute to achieving the target”.

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Current targets start from 2018. According to this, between 2021 and 2030, 20 billion euros are to be invested annually in AI, both private and public. In the period from 2021 to 2027, the Commission has committed to invest 1 billion euros in relevant research and innovation. By 2030, 75 percent of companies in the Union should use AI.

In 2021, according to the ERH, this share averaged 8 percent across the EU. Differences between member states are large: in many Eastern European countries the ratio is below 5 percent. In Denmark, Finland, Germany, Slovenia, Portugal and the Benelux countries it is more than 10 percent. Denmark especially stands out here. For large companies (250 or more employees) the ratio is already close to 70 percent – ​​for SMEs (10 to 249 employees) it is already above 20 percent.

Austria is in the middle. The proportion of SMEs in the country was still less than 10 percent. However, about 30 percent of large companies already use AI applications in some form. (APA)

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