Key decision-makers and leading tech companies gathered to discuss regulation on AI and new technologies

Within the framework of the high-level conference #Regulation4Innovation, organised and hosted for a second consecutive year by MEP Eva Maydell, the European Commission, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and executives from leading technological companies united a common vision with on the importance of creating the right ecosystem for innovation to thrive.

“Innovation enabling regulation may sound oxymoronic yet not so much. If we do it right, if we think ahead when drafting legislation, it can be a driver for change. This is why dialogue between the institutions and the innovation-makers is key.” asserted MEP Maydell of the EPP Group during the opening remarks. Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation and Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo headed the panel “Europe on its way to a global hub for digital innovation”.

Carlos Moedas pointed that Europe is going back to science and engineering. “Artificial intelligence, block chain, robotics is not anymore part of the science fiction but part of our everyday life”, he added. Alexander de Croo, asserted that less regulation is not necessarily leading to more innovation, yet regulation is important to provide a stable environment for innovators.

Overall, all panellists agreed that creating the right ecosystem, and especially developing skills and understanding in the society about new technologies is essential. “Some 1.6 million students have been trained for IT skills in network academy led by Cisco”, stressed Pastora Valero, a Vice-President Public Policy and Government Affairs. Reinventing education that delivers digitally skilled people is indispensable. “Let’s have universal learning rights”, appealed Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister De Croo.

Casper Klynge from Denmark, the first tech Ambassador, opened the second panel of the conference, dedicated to “Data-fuelled economy for Europe in the Age of AI”. The Danish diplomat shed light on what ‘techplomacy’ means. “Bringing back knowledge to government on what the new tech trends are, what will technology bring us. Technology may cause inequalities on a geopolitical level.” stressed Klynge.

The discussion proceeded into looking at AI from the perspective of fundamental rights and the opportunities it gives to ease the lives of people with disabilities. “From legal viewpoint the one thing that is new about AI are the unforeseeable causalities it could create”, warned Paul Nemitz, Principal advisor at DG Justice, European Commission,. Google’s Kiran Kaja and Antoine Bordes, lead of Facebook’s AI Research Paris Lab, exemplified the variety of possibilities AI brings in our everyday life. “Artificial Intelligence has a positive net value for society, we need to develop trust in customers, tackle the misperceptions”, concluded  Nick Goode, Executive Vice President of Sage.

 Jim Brunsden, the leading financial services reporter for the Financial Times Brussels moderated the conference, which took place on 29 November 2017 at the European Parliament in Brussels.

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