Artificial Intelligence fit for Europe. Building Trust in Times of Emergency

Policy Brief

Comparing the EU in terms of Artificial Intelligence to other world regions, a pattern of a clear competitive disadvantage seems to emerge.

In terms of patents, according to the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (2018), between 2009 and 2018, Chinese AI players filled 57% of requests, versus 13% from the US and 7% from South Korea and the European Union.

In 2018, over 51% of published AI patents were attributed to North America, with the share of Europe and Central Asia declining to 23%, less than two percentage points above East Asia and the Pacific (in 2002 the gap between Europe and East Asia was approximately 20 percentage points) (Source: Artificial Intelligence Index Report 2019, Stanford University).

Out of 41 AI unicorns in March 2019, 18 were based in the US, 17 in China and only 1 in the EU (Source: Global Artificial Intelligence Industry Data Report, China Academy of Information and Communications Technology).

In 2018, a wider look at the start-up environment allowed Roland Berger and Asgard to survey 769 EU startups specialized in AI, much less than in the US (1,393) but significantly more than in China (383).

However, close to one-third of the EU startups were based in the UK, now no longer a EU Member State.

Moreover, in a world ranking of hosting cities, the first EU hub (Paris) is only in 10th position, due to the extreme fragmentation in Europe.

Fragmentation is definitely one factor at play, reducing EU chances to become an AI world leader, frustrating the high potential to be found in the number of top EU scientists (by far the highest in the world, according to a recent study by Tsinghua University).
However, the gap in the overall amount of investments appears to be the most startling reason for Europe lagging behind the US and China.

In 2018, according to Stanford University estimates, US companies invested $18.7 billion in AI, compared to China’s $14.35 billion. The largest 5 EU Member States were not even able to attain together the level of UK investment ($1.255 bn vs. $1.27 bn), and only slightly surpassing the much less populated Israel ($ 1.044 bn).

However, also in terms of public investments, the US is allocating large resources, projected to amount to approximately $5 billion ($ 4 bn from the Department of Defense) (Source: Artificial Intelligence Index Report 2019, Stanford University). The same holds true for China.

Policy Brief_Artificial Intelligence fit for Europe. Building Trust in Times of Emergency

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