3 key steps for better AI in Europe

Expert Jan Oetjen, CEO of WEB.DE and GMX, proposes three steps policymakers must take to improve AI in Europe.

Expert Jan Oetjen, CEO of WEB.DE and GMX, explains the status quo of AI in Europe.
Image: © Fotosphaere / Adobe Stock

AI is a political, economic, and societal matter

Artificial intelligence is on everyone’s lips right now, and society is really embracing the new AI solutions being developed by businesses. These innovations are breaking new ground and getting better every day. All the while, policymakers and economic players are working together to ensure that AI serves the public good and does not pose any risks. When it comes to artificial intelligence in Europe, the EU’s AI Act is the one to watch. It aims to create the necessary legal framework for optimally using AI in the EU and developing it further.

Jan Oetjen walks us through three challenges that the EU must tackle to make AI a success in Europe. As the CEO of WEB.DE and GMX and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the European netID Foundation, he’s a real expert in the use of AI and related legislative developments.

If you want Jan to tell you even more about the European digital economy, head over to his German-language lecture “Data ecosystems and alternative IDs – opportunities for advertisers and publishers” at DMEXCO on September 20, 2023.

Get your DMEXCO ticket now to make sure you don’t miss any other inspiring sessions at DMEXCO 2023, taking place in Cologne on September 20 & 21.

The route to making AI a success in Europe – a commentary from Jan Oetjen

Jan Oetjens comments on the topic of a European AI
Image: © Jan Oetjens / kroll.photography

In nearly every digital service that works with large volumes of data, AI has huge potential to generate added value. By introducing the AI Act, Europe hopes to actively shape the future market, where a risk-based approach is intended to facilitate European AI innovations while curbing detrimental AI applications. However, AI and data legislation greatly risks hampering the potential for development. Europe must tackle three challenges to avoid falling behind the curve of AI development and being outpaced by the U.S. and China.

#1 AI calls for a GDPR reform

In its current form, the GDPR focuses too much on data minimization and therefore does not satisfy the requirements of data-intensive AI applications. Guarding consumers from their data being used by constantly introducing new obstacles unfortunately also means that they’re being guarded from the positive potential of AI. In this respect, we’ll only be able to build our own data ecosystem in harmony with European values if companies start to commit to both data minimization and the value-adding process of data utilization.

#2 AI made & hosted in Europe

Using AI platforms located in the U.S. or China hardly enters the equation for European and German companies. The supposedly “new” data privacy framework agreed on between the EU and U.S. will not give companies any legal certainty in terms of using AI solutions hosted in America. With that in mind, any company using the data of European citizens to provide its services should store that data exclusively on European servers. Strictly European data storage should therefore be a requirement for any AI solution that is deployed in Europe and derives value from European data.

#3 Flexibility and speed should be at the heart of European digital policy

It’s not enough to simply pass an EU law after prolonged negotiations, tie it to transitional periods, and then enforce it bureaucratically. The current trilogue negotiations must, without fail, define rules that provide for regular updates to the AI Act.

In the race to generate added value using AI, the following formula applies: AI × data × implementation speed ÷ regulation. If Europe doesn’t quickly improve these four parameters, it will miss the boat in terms of AI development, just like it already has with big data, platforms, and operating systems.

AI in Europe – and at DMEXCO 2023

Jan’s commentary shows just how hot a topic AI is in Europe. It will also be one of the main focuses of DMEXCO 2023. If you want leading digital professionals and industry giants to share their insights with you, then grab your DMEXCO ticket now and make your way to Cologne on September 20 & 21!