EU lags behind leading nations in AI investments

The European Union is not investing enough in artificial intelligence (AI), according to a new report by the European Court of Auditors. The gap between the bloc and leading nations like the US and China continues to widen.

Between 2018 and 2020, the EU met its target of investing more than 20 billion euros in AI. The investment gap between the EU and the US, however, has continued to widen. A recent report by the European Court of Auditors estimates the gap to be more than 10 billion euros. Meanwhile, China goes aims to become the new world leader in AI by 2030. ​ 

The court finds that the process of establishing a European framework for coordinating and regulating investment in AI has been dragging on for too long. As a result, the coordination of investments at EU and member state level is going nowhere.

Although investments from the EU budget have increased - the Commission emphasises it is investing more than 1 billion euros annually in AI research projects - these funds constitute only a small part of the union's overall public and private investments. The investment targets themselves have not been updated since 2018. On top of that, the EU, unlike the US and China, does not sufficiently encourage private investment in AI, according to the report. 

The court therefore stresses the need for quick, extensive and targeted investments in AI to ensure future economic growth in the EU. In response, the Commission said it took the development of AI very seriously, both in terms of content, with the AI Act, and in terms of developing a true European AI ecosystem.

In January, an AI innovation package was presented that foresees a 4 billion euro increase in investment in generative AI, the Commission said.


A person uses the ChatGPT artificial intelligence software © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

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