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European Commission launches new €20m AI project

Executives from some of Europe’s largest companies and prominent technology thought-leaders have gathered for the inaugural meeting of the European’s Commission’s AI4EU project, which aims to drive the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) across a wide range of industries.

The meeting was held in Barcelona and it brought together partners from 21 EU countries with 79 organizations involved. Some of the delegates that attended the AI meeting included senior personnel from telecom operators, tech companies and other enterprises and academic institutions.

The project is being led by French aerospace and transport company Thales Group and features experts from Telenor and Orange among its representatives. The modus operandi of the AI think-tank is conduct a number of pilots across different industries in order to define the benefits and issues related to AI technology.

In a statement that formally announced the scheme in December 2018, the EC said an ethics division would also be formed to “ensure the respect of human centred AI values.”

The EC said the ultimate aim and fundamental objective of the group is to pave the way for an AI-on-demand platform for businesses and other organisations in all EU member states. In its first phase, the project will assess use of AI in: robotics; industry; healthcare; IoT; media; agriculture; civic infrastructure; and cybersecurity.

AI4EU came into existence at the start of 2019 and is the latest activity by European authorities to push forward AI in the economic area after an agreement between member states in 2017. It is also undergoing a public consultation into ethics in AI, which is due to close next week.