June 23, 2021

Europe sleeps on the laurels of artificial intelligence | Trends

Europe sleeps on the laurels of artificial intelligence | Trends

In the 80s, faced with the incipient pressure of Japan, the governments of Germany and France joined forces, achieving the European Union had a unique standard of technology wireless: the 2G. As a result, for decades Europe dominated mobile telephony.

Today, artificial intelligence is positioned as one of the most promising technologies of the future and some even venture to say that we are facing a new solution with an impact similar to that once had the irruption of electricity or the steam engine . But the battle for artificial intelligence seems to have already clear victors, two sides of the same coin: the US betting on a model focused on private companies and China based on the size of its population and the massive use of facial recognition systems In public places.

What value can artificial intelligence bring to the industry? The potential is so great that Accenture experts, in their report How AI Boosts Industry Profits and Innovation, already forecast average percentages of productivity improvement of 39% by 2035.

And just as in its day it happened with the space race, today the competition between China and the USA to lead the artificial intelligence has made the times are accelerating. Given this scenario, many may see a European Union doomed to be a colony of these two great technological empires. However, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently asserted, there is a third way between the purely private and the purely state, in which Europe must position itself to become a relevant actor in this new world technological order.

Europe is a pole of talent in the development of industrial automations and is home to many manufacturing companies. One of the latest reports of the World Economic Forum this is confirmed, with five of what you consider the most intelligent factories in the world in Europe.

Europe has only been able to capture 12% of the potential of digitalisation

And if the technological future of Europe happens to be able to put in value the competitive advantage that supposes its great knowledge of the industrial markets and to center efforts in the development of the artificial intelligence, creating and training the algorithms that will define the industry of the future and the IoT? And if Europe can create a third decentralized way in which data can be shared between the different actors involved?

Today, Europe has only been able to capture 12% of the potential of digitization, as McKinsey noted in his report 10 imperatives for Europe in the age of AI and automation, so the margin for improvement is very large. If Europe works in a combined way, with a common approach that transcends borders and political silos, putting in value the best innovations and practices,

Europe can also take its values ​​to this new order and lead the next disruption that will lead us to an intelligent model that will inspire a new economic narrative for the continent. But along the way we will have to be able to overcome two of the typical inertia of the European Union: its willingness to try to satisfy both national and commercial interests and the risk that institutional inertia will limit most of the investment to existing academic institutions. , instead of favoring and invigorating broader talent ecosystems, in which a wide range of actors can be accommodated.

The first consideration is obvious, although absolutely critical: access and data management must be simple. We must create an ecosystem that allows data to be shared across different platforms: the so-called new API economy. To do so, we must use standardized data and semantic models and create a reference model that allows compatibility between systems and can add different data for analysis.

The goal is not just to get the data, but to be able to generate value from them.

Of course, this has to be done without disrupting the privacy of individuals or endangering the intellectual property of companies. It is very difficult to imagine that, without these data, there is any kind of artificial intelligence research in Europe. We have to redouble our efforts and move towards a single data market. A market that, if we want it to be able to attract investment and eliminate reluctance, must work from models of trust, in which transparency dominates all actions, both in terms of storage and use and the way in which these models are created.

Second, there is a lot of emphasis on artificial intelligence in decentralized control systems. It is an opportunity, both for our industrial tradition and for the advanced nature of our automation.

Today the objective is not only to obtain the data, but to be able to generate value from them. What remains hidden and caged until today will allow us to improve the efficiency of assets and the flows of their operations in ways that today seem impossible to us.

Europe can be strengthened if it focuses on artificial intelligence and machine learning, overcomes national barriers, bets on a European strategy that follows this line and gives way to a single data market. In this way, you can lead the new formulas in which machines and humans will work together to learn to predict trends and manage the complexities that the future holds.

Emmanuel Lagarrigue es EVP & Global Chief Strategy Officer Schneider Electric


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