Tencent executive suggests Europe focus on benefiting lives with AI, not global competition

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Tencent executive suggests Europe focus on benefiting lives with AI, not global competition

A Tencent executive urged an audience at a conference in Europe to deploy artificial intelligence to improve people’s lives, regardless of the international competitiveness of such applications, The Telegraph reports.

Speaking in Helsinki, Finland, Tencent Chief Exploration Officer David Wallerstein warned against trying to catch up to China and the U.S.

“By the time you get better at AI in Europe, the planet will have 8.5 billion people and most of the additional billion will be in the developing world,” he says. “Energy is an area where there’s a huge opportunity on the planet, and it’s a huge opportunity for Europe.”

The Telegraph reported earlier in the year that a third of the leading machine learning and AI specialists from UK academic institutions have been lured to Silicon Valley. The EU has announced an increase of €1.5 billion (US$1.7 billion), or 70 percent in funding for AI, and legislation is being crafted to make public sector data available for its development. Regulations in the region, particularly GDPR, were recently identified by the Brookings Institute as a possible hinderance to the industry’s growth, however.

China has engaged in a concerted and public push to grow a domestic AI industry that leads the field, in a race with the U.S. which was likened earlier this year by one analyst to the space race.

The EAB launched a new strategic plan at its recent Research Projects Conference which focuses on Europe’s strategic challenges.

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