The CEO of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology Willem Jonker believes that it is necessary for Europe to have its own competitors to tech giants such as Facebook.
Jonker believes that Europe should focus its budget on areas like research in artificial intelligence to compete on a much wider scale.
EIT Plans for the future
Speaking on the Juncker Commission and the European Parliament, the EIT CEO outlined the plans for the near future. The growing EU budget will open up the door to research further on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and innovation at large.
He said that the Commission will commit itself to support any form of digitisation such as artificial intelligence in driverless cars. However, when pitched against countries such as America and China, it is evident that there is still a long way to go due to the disparity in budgets.
Mr Willem Jonker also spoke about the focus of the EIT in relation to technological trends. He was keen to mention that digitisation of the internet is one of the hot topics today. People prefer to use the various variations in technology on a daily basis. Willem believes that Europe needs to find an answer to the ever growing division among the social ranks. This is because social cohesion is an integral part of economic prosperity as well as digitisation, which include the operational use of artificial intelligence. As the areas in digitisation expand with each day that passes, operations will also expand to accommodate this need as well.
Inevitably, the CEO had to address how technology affects privacy, the potential to replace human jobs and the politics involved. In his own words, it’s possible to use the technology both constructively and destructively. He talked about such a discussion majoring on opinions more than it should ethics. Technology has always met some form or resistance, which could be a divider or an uniter of societies. However, he highlighted that it is always to the disadvantage of the society when there is all but one tech giant in a particular domain, referring to Facebook. It takes time passing the legislation, understanding it and implementing it in the technology industry. Hence explaining why the society is stuck at this thick patch. He firmly believes that one firm should not dominate the technology industry.
Mr Jonker was also keen to highlight that it is not up to EIT to challenge Facebook as the tech giant alone but European digital companies as well. This will only be possible when Europe can attract the best of technological talent the world has to offer and support them by providing an enabling environment. The Chinese have programs such as ‘China 2025’, which has set a target of 2025 to achieve its goals thanks to its huge budget allocation. Willem believes that such political programmes are vital for Europe to adopt to speed up the digitisation process. The €9 billion set by the commission will focus on areas such as cybersecurity and digitisation. It will also benefit 27 nations in Europe for seven years. The same amount is easily spent by tech giants such as Google in one month. This shows the gap that needs to be covered if Europe is to rise as a tech giant. He believes that Europe needs to convert the education in universities to a more AI oriented education-based system. This is to allow Europe to compete globally for a start.