The EU decided to step up bloc’s AI game. Will they succeed?

The EU decided to step up bloc’s AI game. Will they succeed?

EU’s digital chief expressed commitment to AI

EU lawmakers are working to position the bloc as a contender in the generative AI race by proposing a package of support measures to boost domestic AI startups and scale-ups.

Artificial intelligence technologies, particularly generative AI models trained on large datasets with the ability to understand natural language and generate text, images, or audio as needed, are seen as crucial for the bloc’s future competitiveness. However, Commission officials acknowledge that lawmakers have faced challenges in having suitable computer infrastructure for training such AIs.

Lawmakers admit they were surprised by the sudden popularity of generative AI tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT last year. Despite the EU having a network of high-performance supercomputers, such as the recently launched MareNostrum 5, this infrastructure has historically been focused on scientific users and use-cases, not optimised for training the new disruptive generative AI models. This gap is a significant missing component in the EU’s AI strategy, and lawmakers are now hurriedly working to address it.

The Commission has adopted an “AI innovation package,” aiming to support the growth of Europe’s AI ecosystem. The package includes interventions in various areas, such as high-performance computing infrastructure for training models and ensuring access to the skills and talent required for generative AI advancements.

In a statement, Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s digital chief, mentioned that computing power is crucial for AI development, and they aim to provide SMEs and startups privileged access to the European supercomputer network. She expressed the commitment to fostering AI innovation and building a thriving AI ecosystem in Europe.

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