Ed’s note: The EU loves Artificial Intelligence – Smart Energy

Ed’s note: The EU loves Artificial Intelligence – Smart Energy

But the European Union doesn’t seem very fond of the private companies involved heavily in the research of Artificial Intelligence. Shocking? I think not. Maybe a tad sad. And we better realise that we need these companies if we want to transform Europe into a utopic AI hub in the near future.

Because Artificial Intelligence may be one of the most controversial ‘new’ technologies out there, everybody still wants a piece of it. And who could blame them? After all, it is the tech that will make or break our collective and individual future after all.

Especially for what regards the energy sector, aspects like maintenance, prediction, forecasting and of course cyber security and communication (between companies, people and devices alike) rely heavily on AI and machine learning. That is why the EU Commission devotes time and money to research all aspects of AI, from science to philosophy (because let’s face it, ethics do matter to us Europeans). As they should.

Today and tomorrow members of the European and the international community are invited to join a high-level conference on Artificial Intelligence, which is open to us all. The host? That would be the Slovenian Government that is presiding the European Council, together with the European Commission. Can’t get any posher than that, right?

The event follows up on the Regulatory framework proposal on Artificial Intelligence as well as the updated Coordinated Plan on AI, both published by the European Commission recently. The aim of the EU Commission and the Slovenian Presidency is to help transform Europe into a leading global hub on AI.

And in order to support this effort, the organisers brought out the ‘big guns’. The European Commission’s Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton and Roberto Viola, Director-General of DG CONNECT to name but a few from the EU Commission’s side. From the side of the Slovenian Presidency, the Minister of Public Administration, Boštjan Koritnik, and Minister for the Digital Transformation, Mark Boris Andrijanič, will open the event. Not bad at all.

The main topics of the event include regulation, education, and innovation as the three main pillars joined by a fourth, that of investment. It makes sense because, without generous and forward-thinking investments from the Commission and the various EU governments, we are not going to get far. China and the USA which are currently making efforts to own the AI ‘game’ will leave us behind and we are going to risk ‘earning’, once again in one more field (renewables anyone?), happy second or third place.

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The conference will unfold around a number of inspirational speeches, panel discussions and breakout sessions featuring experts and policymakers from EU member states, third countries, international organisations, academia, civil society as well as business representatives.

What business reps? While reading the agenda of the event, I admired the names of a lot of people in high places and with impressive job titles. What I did not see in the discussions is the so-called competition… Where are the Microsofts, the Amazons and the Googles that actually dominate the game right now? Why do we exclude them? They may be the ‘devil’, but shouldn’t we hear what they have to say and maybe, just maybe, learn something? Or a Siemens for heaven’s sake. That’s a European company heavily invested in AI. Where are their representatives?

If there is someone invited and I missed it, I humbly apologise. But if there is not, then… Brussels, we have a problem! Don’t you think?

Areti Ntaradimou
Editor, Smart Energy International

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We can’t wait to see you in Milan

Enlit Europe will bring the energy community together during the live event in Milan (30 November – 2 December 2021).


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